Se Ri Pak given exemption into 2016 U.S. Women's Open

Se Ri Pak given exemption into 2016 U.S. Women’s Open

FILE - In this March 24, 2012, file photo, Se Ri Pak, of South Korea, picks up her ball after finishing the third round of the Kia Classic LPGA golf tournament in Carlsbad, Calif. Pak is retiring after the season, ending a Hall of Fame career that inspired a wave of South Korean players who followed her to the LPGA Tour. The 38-year-old Pak broke the news Thursday, March 17, 2016, after opening with a 3-under 69 in the JTBC Founders Cup. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

Se Ri Pak is retiring after the 2016 LPGA season, and she's going to be able to make one final start in the major where she had her most defining moment.

The USGA announced Wednesday that it has given Pak an exemption into the 2016 U.S. Women's Open, to be played at CordeValle Resort in San Martin, Calif., from July 7-10.

"The U.S. Women's Open has a very special meaning in my career and life,” said Pak in a release. “It has opened up the doors for all my dreams to come true. With that, I am very honored and pleased to be given this opportunity to participate for the last time before finishing up my playing career. I have learned so much. I will do all my best to give back the love and support I have received for the future of golf."

In 1998 at the age of 20, the South Korean Pak beat Duke University student and amateur Jenny Chuasiriporn in a dramatic 20-hole playoff at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wis., to win her second major of her rookie LPGA season. The victory sent shockwaves through the world of golf and were part of a year that inspired thousands of Korean women to take up the game. Ultimately, that generational impact has led to the Korean dominance of women's golf to this day.

Pak, who announced in February that this season will be her last on the LPGA, has won five majors in her career and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2007.

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