Creamer Falls Short at Corning

By Associated PressMay 27, 2007, 4:00 pm
2006 Corning ClassicCORNING, N.Y. -- On the course, Young Kim wears a hat pulled low over her eyes to shield her face from the sun. On Sunday, the hat served another purpose -- it hid tears of joy.
In the aftermath of her first LPGA victory, a three-shot win at the Corning Classic, the hat also blocked a spray of soda showered on her by fellow South Koreans Mi Hyun Kim and In-Kyung Kim.
'I cannot believe it,' said Young Kim, whose breakthrough triumph came in her 103rd start. 'I cannot say anything. Too much good.'
Young Kim overcame consecutive bogeys before the turn, then rallied with two birdies over the final five holes for a 4-under 68 to beat Paula Creamer (71) and Mi Hyun Kim (70).
Beth Bader (72), also bidding for her first victory, made double bogey on the final hole to finish in a tie for fourth with rookie In-Kyung Kim (69) at 16-under. It was a career-best finish for Bader.
Young Kim finished at 20-under 268, four shots off the tournament record set four years ago by Juli Inkster. She won $195,000, more than doubling her season winnings to $328,442, just outside the top 10.
The 20-year-old Creamer, bidding for her second victory of the year and fourth of her brief career, couldn't duplicate the charge she made at the end of the third round when she finished with consecutive birdies to tie Bader and Young Kim for the lead.
'I tried,' said Creamer, who hit only 6 of 14 fairways a day after not missing any. 'Nothing really clicked. To tie for second and be in contention the way I played to me is good confidence-wise. That was hard. It was a difficult day.'
After making just one bogey over the first three rounds, Kim seemed destined to fall apart after making two more at Nos. 8 and 9.
But after Creamer took a one-shot lead with a birdie at the par-5 12th, she botched her approach shot at No. 14 and made bogey, three-putting from 45 feet when the sloping green proved too tricky.
'You don't miss laying up,' said Creamer, who played the tournament for the first time. 'That's no good.'
Young Kim, who had nailed her third shot within a foot of the hole, easily made birdie to take a one-shot lead over Creamer, Bader and Mi Hyun Kim.
Young Kim followed that with a nice par save at the par-3 15th after her tee shot landed in a greenside bunker. And when Creamer's 7-foot birdie putt at the hole lipped out, her momentum was gone.
Kim sealed the victory when her second shot at No. 17 stopped a foot from the hole for an easy birdie, and Creamer's birdie try lipped the cup and slid past.
'That was hard,' Creamer said. 'I made a great putt. I don't know how it didn't go in.'
Creamer, who gave her 89-year-old grandfather a hug after she teed off to start the round, ran into trouble at No. 6, a 307-yard dogleg left that curls down a steep hill. She hit 4-iron off the tee and landed behind a towering oak. After switching clubs three times, her second shot caromed off the base of the tree and stopped next to a dirt path. She managed to roll her third shot near the green, chipped well past the hole and made double bogey.
Young Kim sank a 24-foot downhill putt at No. 7 to take a three-shot lead, and when Creamer's short birdie putt lipped out, she shook her head in disbelief.
Just when Young Kim was poised to take control, her second shot at No. 8 landed at the edge of a greenside bunker and she made bogey.
Creamer rallied with a birdie on the hole and made a nice par save at the next after her drive landed under an evergreen tree.
Young Kim failed to take advantage of a booming drive at the ninth, hitting her second shot over the green and behind a pair of signs next to the 15th tee. Kim took a drop, then chipped 15 feet past the hole. She missed the putt coming back to fall into a tie with Creamer at 18-under.
Bader wasn't out of it, either. After making bogey on two of her first three holes, she rallied with two birdies before the turn and trailed by one. A birdie at No. 12 moved her to 18-under.
Mi Hyun Kim, playing in the threesome ahead, started the day a shot behind and moved into contention at the turn. She birdied both par-5s on the front side and took a brief one-shot lead with birdies at Nos. 10 and 12 before bogeying No. 14.
Young Kim's winning score was the lowest this season in a 72-hole event on the LPGA Tour ... Diana D'Alessio had a career-best 65. ... Pat Hurst had two eagles on the front nine, the fourth player to accomplish that this season.
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  • Piller pregnant, no timetable for LPGA return

    By Randall MellNovember 22, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Gerina Piller, the American Olympian golfer and three-time Solheim Cup veteran, is pregnant and will not be rejoining the LPGA when the 2018 season opens, the New York Times reported following the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.

    Piller, 32, who is married to PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, is due with the couple’s first child in May, Golf Channel’s Jerry Foltz reported.

    Piller declined an interview request when sought comment going into the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Piller told the New York Times she has no timetable for her return but that she isn’t done with competitive golf.

    “I’m not just giving everything up,” Piller said.

    As parity reigns, LPGA searching for a superstar

    By Randall MellNovember 22, 2017, 4:00 pm

    Apologies to the LPGA’s golden eras, but women’s golf has never been deeper.

    With the game going global, with the unrelenting wave of Asian talent continuing to slam the tour’s shores, with Thailand and China promising to add to what South Korea is delivering, it’s more difficult than ever to win.

    That’s a beautiful and perplexing thing for the women’s game.

    That’s because it is more difficult than ever to dominate.

    And that’s a magic word in golf.

    There is no more powerful elixir in the sport.

    Domination gets you on the cover of Sports Illustrated, on ESPN SportsCenter, maybe even on NBC Nightly News if the “D” in domination is dynamic enough.

    The women’s best chance of moving their sport to another stratosphere is riding the back of a superstar.

    Or maybe a pair of superstar rivals.

    Photos: 2017 LPGA winners gallery

    A constellation of stars may be great for the devoted regular supporters of the women’s game, but it will take a charismatic superstar to make casual fans care.

    The LPGA needs a Serena Williams.

    Or the reincarnation of Babe Zaharias.

    For those of us who regularly follow the LPGA, this constellation of stars makes for compelling stories, a variety of scripting to feature.

    The reality, however, is that it takes one colossal story told over and over again to burst out of a sports niche.

    The late, great CBS sports director Frank Chirkinian knew what he had sitting in a TV production truck the first time he saw one of his cameras bring a certain young star into focus at the Masters.

    It’s this player coming up over the brow of the hill at the 15th hole to play his second shot,” Chirkinian once told me over lunch at a golf course he owned in South Florida.  “He studies his shot, then flips his cigarette, hitches up his trousers and takes this mighty swipe and knocks the shot on the green. It was my first experience with Arnold Palmer, and I remember thinking, ‘Wow, who is this guy?’

    “The thing about golf, more than any other sport, it’s always looking for a star. It’s the only sport where people will root against the underdog. They don’t want the stars to lose. They’re OK with some unknown rising up to be the story on Thursday or Friday, but they always want to see the stars win.”

    And they go gaga when it’s one star so radiant that he or she dominates attention.

    “It didn’t matter if Arnold was leading, or where he was, you had to show him,” Chirkinian said. “You never knew when he might do something spectacular.”

    The LPGA is in a healthy place again, with a big upside globally, with so much emerging talent sharing the spotlight.

    Take Sunday at the CME Group Tour Championship.

    The back nine started with Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie making the turn tied for the lead. There is no more powerful pairing to sell in the women’s game today, but there would be no duel. It would have been too far off script as the final chapter to this season.

    Parity was the story this year.

    Sunday in Naples started with 18 players within two shots of the lead.

    Entering that back nine, almost a dozen players were in the mix, including Ariya Jutanugarn.

    The day ended with Jutanugarn beating Thompson with a dramatic birdie-birdie finish after Thompson stunned viewers missing a 2-foot putt for par at the last.

    The day encapsulated the expanding LPGA universe.

    “I’ve never seen such crazy, brilliant golf from these ladies,” said Gary Gilchrist, who coaches Jutanugarn, Lydia Ko and Rolex world No. 1 Shanshan Feng. “It was unbelievable out there. It was just like birdie after birdie after birdie, and the scoreboard went up and down. And that’s why it’s so hard to be No. 1 on this tour. There’s not one person who can peak. It’s all of them at a phenomenal level of golf.”

    If Thompson had made that last 2-footer and gone on to win the CME, she would have become the sixth different world No. 1 this year. Before this year, there had never been more than three different No. 1s in a single LPGA season.

    Parity was the theme from the year’s start.

    There were 15 different winners to open the season, something that hadn’t happened in 26 years. There were five different major championship winners.

    This year’s Rolex Player of the Year Award was presented Sunday to So Yeon Ryu and Sung Hyun Park. It’s the first time the award has been shared since its inception in 1966.

    Thompson won twice this year, with six second-place finishes, with three of those playoff losses, one of them in a major championship. She was close to putting together a spectacular year. She was close to dominating and maybe becoming the tour’s one true rock star.

    Ultimately, Thompson showed us how hard that is to do now.

    She’s in a constellation we’re all watching, to see if maybe one star breaks out, somebody able to take the game into living rooms it has never been, to a level of popularity it’s never been.

    The game won’t get there with another golden era. It will get there with a golden player.

    Love's hip surgery a success; eyes Florida swing return

    By Rex HoggardNovember 22, 2017, 3:31 pm

    Within hours of having hip replacement surgery on Tuesday Davis Love III was back doing what he does best – keeping busy.

    “I’ve been up and walking, cheated in the night and stood up by the bed, but I’m cruising around my room,” he laughed early Wednesday from Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center in Birmingham, Ala., where he underwent surgery to replace his left hip. “[Dr. James Flanagan, who performed the surgery] wants me up. They don’t want me sitting for more than an hour.”

    Love, 53, planned to begin more intensive therapy and rehabilitation on Wednesday and is scheduled to be released from the hospital later this afternoon.

    According to Love’s doctors, there were no complications during the surgery and his recovery time is estimated around three to four months.

    Love, who was initially hesitant to have the surgery, said he can start putting almost immediately and should be able to start hitting wedges in a few weeks.

    Dr. Tom Boers – a physical therapist at the Hughston Orthopedic Clinic in Columbus, Ga., who has treated Fred Couples, Phil Mickelson, Greg Norman and Brad Faxon – will oversee Love’s recovery and ultimately decide when he’s ready to resume normal golf activity.

    “He understands motion and gait and swing speeds that people really don’t understand. He’s had all of us in there studying us,” Love said. “So we’ll see him in a couple of weeks and slowly get into the swing part of it.”

    Although Love said he plans to temper his expectations for this most recent recovery, his goal is to be ready to play by the Florida swing next March.

    Vegas lists Woods at 20-1 to win a major in 2018

    By Will GrayNovember 22, 2017, 12:53 pm

    He hasn't hit a competitive shot in nearly a year, but that hasn't stopped one Las Vegas outlet from listing Tiger Woods among the favorites to win a major in 2018.

    The Westgate Las Vegas Superbook published betting odds this week on dozens of players to win any of the four majors next year. Leading the pack were Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth at 3/2, with Rory McIlroy next. But not far behind was Woods, who has been sidelined since February because of a back injury but was listed at 20/1.

    Woods will make his much-anticipated return next week at the Hero World Challenge, and next month he will turn 42. Next summer will mark the 10-year anniversary of his last major championship victory, a sudden-death playoff win over Rocco Mediate at the 2008 U.S. Open.

    Here's a look at the odds for several marquee players on winning any of the four biggest events in golf next year:

    3/2: Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth

    5/2: Rory McIlroy

    7/2: Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day

    9/2: Justin Rose

    5/1: Brooks Koepka

    15/2: Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey

    10/1: Adam Scott

    12/1: Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Marc Leishman, Thomas Pieters, Patrick Reed

    15/1: Daniel Berger, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Patrick Cantlay, Branden Grace, Kevin Kisner, Alex Noren, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Charl Schwartzel, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson

    20/1: Tiger Woods, Francesco Molinari, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Tony Finau, Martin Kaymer

    25/1: Ryan Moore, Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson, Lee Westwood, Jimmy Walker, Kevin Chappell, Bryson DeChambeau, Bill Haas, Jason Dufner, Charley Hoffman

    30/1: Pat Perez, Gary Woodland, Bernd Wiesberger, Brian Harman, Padraig Harrington, Emiliano Grillo, Ross Fisher, Si Woo Kim, J.B. Holmes