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Pak eyes up second US Open win

Se Ri Pak's first impressions of Mississippi, where she will defend her U.S. Women's Open title in June, should not be misunderstood.

"Hot and boring," Pak replied when asked during a visit Monday to Old Waverly Golf Club what she thought of the state.

Pak said her impressions were based on what she was told by other people. And use of the word "boring" was likely the result of her having just learned the English language over the last two years.

Maybe a poor choice of words, but the 21-year-old South Korean said that "boring" could be an advantage when it comes time to try to defend her title. She sounded as if she only meant to say it's a slower and more relaxed pace of life.

"That's pretty great," said Pak, who last year at 20 became the youngest-ever winner of the U.S. Women Open. "A quiet place where you can concentrate and get more rest. I like it here. I like a quiet place."

Life has been busy for Pak since her 20-hole playoff victory over amateur Jenny Chuasiriporn in last year's U.S. Women's Open at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wisc.

"My schedule has been tighter. And now people know my name and now my face," Pak said. "Before that, it was pretty boring. No fans and no gallery when I played."

Pak's appearance at Old Waverly came just five weeks before she and 149 other golfers travel to Mississippi for the 1999 U.S. Women's Open, which will be played June 3-6.

For Pak, it was her first visit to Mississippi, a state she said she knew nothing about until just a few weeks ago. Mississippi wasn't a course of study while growing up and going to school in South Korea.