| South Korea’s Se Ri-pak makes her second shot in Yongin on Friday. (AFP)
Seoul: South Korea’s Se Ri-pak made history for women’s golf on Friday when she became the first female to make the cut in a men’s event in 58 years, at the SBS Super Tournament on the Korean men’s tour.
“I can’t believe it, did I really make it'” asked Pak, 26, who succeeded where four other women — world number one Annika Sorenstam, fellow pros Suzy Whaley and Laura Davies and teenage sensation Michelle Wie — all failed this year.
“I am very happy with the result,” said Pak who scored a two-over-par 74 on Friday for a two-round total of 146 at the 6,448-metre (7,052-yard) Lake Side Country Club in Yongin, south of Seoul.
Tournament officials said Pak was the first women to make the halfway cut in a men’s event in 58 years, repeating Babe Zaharias’ feat at the Los Angles Open in 1945.
Earlier this month Davies failed at a men’s Asian PGA in South Korea. Sorenstam and Whaley both tried their luck on the US PGA Tour while Wie played on the Canadian Tour and Nationwide Tour.
“I’m not suggesting I’ll go out and win now,” said Pak, a three-time LPGA tournament winner this year.
“But because I’ve made the cut, now I am aiming at a top 10 finish and I will play more aggressively from the third round on.”
Pak, who carded one birdie and three bogeys, said she had never felt as much pressure in her career as she had over the past two days in blustery and chilly conditions.
“The past two days were one of the most difficult moments for me,” she said. “I felt heavily burdened and the past two days were the most difficult of my professional career. I am extremely happy now.”
Pak’s 146 after two rounds put her 19th on the leaderboard, comfortably inside the top 60 who made the cut from the 125 players who started the tournament on Thursday.
She is five shots off the half-way pace set by three Korean men, Jang Ik-Jae, Han Young-Keun, and Kang Kyung-nam, who lead the field on 141.
Pak, second behind Sorenstam in the LPGA money list, said that she would like to match up with the men on the US Tour.
“If they invite me I will jump at the chance. But I haven’t been invited yet,” she said.
Pak bogeyed the par-four seventh hole after pulling her approach shot into a sand trap. She bounced back with a birdie on the next hole, sinking a two-metre putt to save a shot.
She fell foul of water and bunker hazards to score two consecutive bogeys on the 13th and 14th. Then on the final hole she narrowly missed the cup with a three-meter birdie putt.
Defending champion Yang Yong-eun shot a course record sever-under-par 65 in a spectacular recovery after a first-round seven-over-par blow-out.