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Se Ri Pak trying to find new balance in life

Se Ri Pak spent the last seven years focusing all her attention on her golf game, determined to get into the Hall of Fame.

Now that she's qualified, though, Pak finds herself struggling. She wants more balance in her life, and is trying to find other interests besides golf. But it's hard to break from routine, and the conflict is taking a toll.

"Through last year, I always just make one [goal], trying to be the best. So I work on and spend the whole year for my game,'' she said Wednesday. "I am trying to have some more time without the golf. Just trying to -- everything has to come together. I am not really used to this and that.''

Pak's career began with quite a splash. She got her first tour victory at the 1998 McDonald's LPGA Championship, then won the U.S. Women's Open after a 20-hole playoff. In her first seven seasons on the tour, she won 22 times, including four majors.

Her win at the Michelob Ultra Open last year gave her enough points to qualify for the Hall of Fame, though she still must meet the 10-year playing requirement.

"I put a lot of pressure on myself,'' she said. "Nobody can tell me, `You have to win every week.' I am the one that keeps telling me that. Every single week I want to see my name on top of the leaderboard.''

But Pak said she knows she needs more out of life, and her family and friends have been supportive. Her father recently told her to cut herself some slack, to not practice if she didn't feel like it. And her entire family -- including the family dog -- came to support her this week.

Still, it's hard for Pak to relax. Especially when her game isn't where she wants it to be. Or where she's used to it being. Her best finish in four starts this year is a tie for 27th, at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. She's missed one cut, and withdrew from the Safeway International.

"It was difficult to change a little bit,'' she said. "I think I have to live with having more balance in my life. This game is -- I love this game, but it is really hard work. I guess my life is more important than this strange game.''

 

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