Two things define Inbee Park's game: her brilliant putting and her calm demeanor. No one was in better position to observe those qualities than Brad Beecher, Park's caddie.
Park ranked second in putting and first in birdies while winning the U.S. Women's Open at Sebonack Golf Club, and that shows she made the big putts that really counted. "She's holed a lot of putts, but really clutch putts especially," Beecher said Sunday. "Today, she didn't hole a lot, but every single putt shaved the edge. Her eye for it and her feel for it is the best I've seen her."
Asked if he ever helps read her putts, Beecher said: "She does it all herself. No help. That's the way she's always done it."
Beecher said he's seen Park nervous only once at a tournament last year in Malaysia for some inexplicable reason. "I've never seen her mad or emotional," Beecher said. "She stays within her own game. She's not worried what other people are doing. She'll glance at leader boards, but she sticks to herself."
Before Park's victory Sunday, the last woman to win the first three golf majors of the year was Babe Didrikson Zaharias, at 41 years old in 1950. Zaharias had won track and field gold medals at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics and was widely considered the first female sports star. Indicative of how long ago she excelled is an old Zaharias quote about her golf ability: "It's not enough to just swing at the ball," she said. "You've got to loosen your girdle and really let the ball have it."
Choi enjoyed 2012 crown
Defending U.S. Women's Open champion Na Yeon Choi failed to make a birdie during a finishing 75 that left her tied for 17th at 7-over-par 295, 15 strokes behind South Korean countrywoman Inbee Park, who succeeded her as champion. Despite failing to contend this week, Choi basked in the afterglow of last year's title at Blackwolf Run in Wisconsin. "Last four days, four rounds, every first hole, I heard the announcement I won, you know, 2012 U.S. Women's Open champion. I feel great."
Casie Cathrea, 17, a Californian who will play at Oklahoma State next year, recovered from a 79 Saturday to equal Sunday's low round -- 2-under 70. Cathrea finished the tournament tied for 25th with a 9-over 297 total. That made Cathrea the U.S. Women's Open low amateur, a goal she said she had set for herself. Another highlight for her during the week, she said, was "letting a little girl play the ninth hole with me during my practice round. She absolutely loved it."