HARRISON, N.Y. -- If golf had a Triple Crown, Inbee Park would be wearing it. Two years ago, she became the first to sweep the season's first three women's major championships. She entered the record books with her trademark jaunty walk up No. 18 at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton in winning the U.S. Women's Open. So she has an idea of what to expect today.
She is in position for a new triple: winning the same major three years in a row. The Korean star is 14 under par, two strokes ahead of countrywoman Sei Young Kim heading into the final round of the KPMG Women's PGA at Westchester Country Club. Although the name and venue have been changed, it still is the same tournament as the LPGA Championship that Park won in 2013 and 2014. Only Annika Sorenstam (2004-2006) has won it three consecutive years.
"I have to say it would be pretty close to winning three majors in a row," she said after she birdied the par-5 18th to shoot 7-under 66 Saturday. "That was my biggest accomplishment ever in my career, but if I'm able to do this tomorrow, I think that will definitely be like tied for first."
But there is a twist in the three-times-a-charm theme and it's big, big, big. Kim, an LPGA Tour rookie, is working on her own three-peat because this season she has twice won tournaments by beating Park head-to-head. Park brought that up Saturday without having been asked about it. "I have to say my history with her is not great," she said, referring to playing beside Kim at the Pure Silk-Bahamas Classic and losing a playoff to Kim at the Lotte Championship in Hawaii. The latter ended with Kim sinking a 154-yard 8-ironfor an eagle.
"It's just always tough to see your opponent getting lucky. But it seems like she holes out a lot, so maybe it was just the usual," Park said.
Usually, it is bad luck for anyone who has to face the unflappable Park. Her caddie, Brad Beecher of Australia, remembered what he said to her on the way to the final green at Sebonack: "Mate, you're just about to join history. Enjoy the walk."
He said of his boss' resume: "She doesn't necessarily think about it. Maybe deep down she does, but she doesn't let it out. She just gets on with her game."
Park was asked if her name atop the leader board intimidates opponents. "I don't know how they really think," she said. "I don't know, I can't think that they would like it too much."
On the other hand, Kim is known in Korea as the Comeback Queen, so it might not be terrible for her that she four-putted 18 to fall out of a tie for first. She might have another 154-yard 8-iron shot up her sleeve. "Well, that's a past story," she said through an interpreter. "I want to make a new story tomorrow."
Shon shoots 75
Kelly Shon of Port Washington double-bogeyed the par-3 first and shot 75. She is 3 over after three rounds. "I told myself I would be happy with an even-par round today, with the way things were," she said. "Minus the first hole, that's where I was, so I can't be too upset."