From 16 to 8 - for a Chance at $1 Million

By Associated PressNovember 17, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 ADT ChampionshipWEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Christina Kim watched her pro-am partners do football-style body bumps, and they told her to do the same celebration on the 18th hole during the ADT Championship. She couldn't think of a better occasion than Saturday afternoon.
 
Kim hit a 7-iron that stopped 2 feet behind the hole for a birdie to claim the eighth and final spot in the final round, giving her just as much of a chance as anyone to win the $1 million prize.
 
With a bleacher full of sun-baked fans still cheering, Kim charged over to caddie Donna Southam and leaped with a twist, slightly higher than when Phil Mickelson won his first Masters, and they bumped each other to celebrate the clutch moment.
 
It got even better when Nicole Castrale hit her approach into the water, just as she did in regulation, to fall into the playoff.
 
So concluded another nerve-racking afternoon at Trump International, where eight of the 16 players who qualified for the 18-hole shootout on Sunday had every reason to dream of the biggest payoff in women's golf.

Lorena Ochoa was solid as ever, playing bogey-free for a 6-under 66 to tie for the low round Saturday with Paula Creamer, who was helped by a wedge she holed out for eagle on the par-5 15th.
 
Karrie Webb, whose 50-foot birdie putt Friday enabled her to avoid a playoff, had no stress in her round of 68. The other qualifiers were U.S. Women's Open champion Cristie Kerr, Natalie Gulbis, Sarah Lee and Mi Hyun Kim, who had the best turnaround of all.
 
Mi Hyun Kim was at 5 under with five holes to play and still in good shape after bogeys at the 14th and 16th. But she caught a plugged lie in the bunker on the 18th that led to double bogey, and minutes later, she was in a 4-for-2 playoff starting on the 17th tee.
 
One swing changed everything.
 
Kim hit a hybrid 5-iron to 7 feet for birdie to earn a spot in the final round.
 
'I feel so sad after that,' she said of her double bogey. 'Anyway, I made it. Scores are zero tomorrow.'
 
Just like the third round, the scores will be wiped out for the final 18 holes, where the winner gets $1 million and second place gets $100,000, the biggest disparity of prize money in golf.
 
'It's all-or-nothing,' Creamer said.
 
But there were plenty of players who felt like nothing when they left Trump International.
 
Sophie Gustafson endured a roller-coaster round in which she followed two bogeys by driving the par-4 sixth green and chipping in for eagle, running off four straight birdies to get safe, they finishing double bogey-bogey to fall into the playoff at 1-under 71.
 
Her tee shot went through the green and into the stream to the left, and she was out.
 
Juli Inkster never even got that chance. She was on top of her game for the front nine, when she went out in 32. But a three-putt bogey on the 13th started her fall. She took bogey on the 16th, then hit into the water with a 7-iron and made double bogey and finished one shot out of the playoff.
 
Morgan Pressel made three bogeys in a four-hole stretch on the back nine and also missed out.
 
The emotions started to wear on the players as the $1 million prize got closer.
 
Castrale was at 2 under until she hit into the water on the 18th and did well to get up-and-down for bogey. As she fought back tears, she learned that Gustafson had made bogey on the 18th with a fat bunker shot, meaning there would be a playoff.
 
'I've still got a chance,' she said.
 
But it lasted only two holes, with Christina Kim hitting a clutch shot and delivering a celebration rarely seen in golf.
 
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    McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

    By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

    The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

    McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

    McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

    ''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

    Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

    ''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

    McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

    ''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

    The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

    ''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

    The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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    Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

    By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

    If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

    Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

    If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

    Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

    Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

    I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

    A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

    And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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    Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

    Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

    The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

    Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

    “I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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    Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

    Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

    Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.