Ko and Park could be set for another duel at Serapong
World's top two play down talk of rivalry as they prepare to take aim at Serapong
She tops the world rankings, has 10 wins on the LPGA Tour and five in Europe, with one Major under her belt when she won the Evian Masters last year.
New Zealand's Lydia Ko is also only 18, but with little of the trappings normally associated with a teen phenom.
She will begin her attempt to go one better at the US$1.5 million ($2.1m) HSBC Women's Champions starting today in the first round at Sentosa Golf Club's Serapong Course, after a nearly moment last year.
World No. 2 Park Inbee will know how dangerous that makes Ko.
The South Korean beat her by two strokes to lift the title last year and is back and hungry to defend her crown.
Speaking yesterday at the Sentosa Golf Club, Ko said: "Inbee obviously played it perfectly last year to go bogey-free through 72 holes… Usually you're happy to go 18 holes without a bogey, so that was impressive.
"I thought I played solidly last year, but Inbee played phenomenal.
"She's set the benchmark, so you just have to try and work off that.
"With this course, you have to be smart and she definitely did that last year."
The two are good enough to develop a longstanding rivalry in the game that could elevate their sport to the next level.
Park, a seven-time Major champion, tried hard to play down talk of a growing rivalry with Ko, or any other competitor for that matter.
She is simply looking forward to kick-starting her 2016 campaign with a repeat triumph after recently recovering from a back injury.
"It's more about playing your own game and, if you can play a perfect game, chances are you'll win," said Park.
"I think golf is just about trying to bring the best out of yourself.
"I've always thought Sentosa is pretty tough and last year definitely gave me the confidence that I can play well in this tournament.
"This week, I'm going to keep that mindset and try to play some good golf. I started off really well (at this tournament) last year and ended up winning two Majors and two more tournaments.
"It's been my lucky charm and I'd really like to get that going this week as well."
Both protagonists were measured and even funny yesterday.
Ko laughed sheepishly when asked if she was any good at karaoke, which she twice went to recently on a short break back in her hometown of Auckland.
She joked about her height after recently taking a picture with New Zealand swimmer Daniel Hunter, who stands over a head taller than her.
While Park is only just getting back into her groove, Ko has carried on in the same vein so far this year, retaining the New Zealand Women's Open and finishing second in the Women's Australian Open.
She said: "I got to defend my national Open, which is a pretty cool feeling, then I played really solidly in Australia.
"Most often if you shoot at 67 on the final day and you're in one of the final groups, then you're putting yourself in contention, but Haru (Nomura) played better and you can't do much about that.
"But overall it's been a really good start to the season… It always can be better, but I'm pleased with how it's started."
Given a final chance to name Ko as her biggest rival this week, Park refused to take the bait.
"There are more than 60 people in the field trying to win this week, so I'm not worried about just one of them," she said.
"It's more likely you're playing your own game. If I play my perfect game, I can win the tournament."
Fans will be in for something special if the top two players in the world play at the peak here.
I thought I played solidly last year, but Inbee played phenomenal. She’s set the benchmark, so you just have to try and work off that.
— World No. 1 Lydia Ko
Miyazato not well
She is a former world No. 1 with 25 titles to her name and arrived here for the HSBC Women's Champions as a former champion following her triumph in 2010.
Ai Miyazato's participation in the tournament, however, was thrown in some doubt yesterday after she fell ill.
Along with the traditional pro-am, the Japanese (above) also missed a golf clinic for 33 juniors in the afternoon.
But tournament organisers moved quickly to reassure Miyazato's fans that she remains on track to tee off in the first round today.
She is due to tee off at 9.22am, along with seven-time Major champion Karrie Webb of Australia and American Angela Stanford. - GABRIEL TAN