Inkster Falls to Kim in LPGA Playoff

By Associated PressMay 6, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 SemGroup ChampionshipBROKEN ARROW, Okla. -- Needing only to make a 5-foot putt on No. 18 to win the SemGroup Championship on Sunday, Mi Hyun Kim pushed it right of the hole. But she received a quick chance for redemption, and took advantage of it.
 
Kim, forced into a playoff with Hall of Famer Juli Inkster because of the miss, won on the first extra hole -- making a 4-foot par putt on No. 18 -- for her first LPGA Tour victory of the year.
 
Kim, who started the round one shot behind the leaders, won for the eighth time on the tour. Inkster, who will turn 47 next month, would have been the oldest player to win an LPGA Tour event. She closed with a 2-under 69 in regulation.
 
Kim, who shot a 71, and Inkster finished regulation tied at 3-under, one shot ahead of Ai Miyazoto and Angela Stanford. Four others were at 1-under, including Lorena Ochoa, Reilley Rankin and Stephanie Louden. Rankin and Louden began the day in a four-way tie for first.
 
'My goal is just top 10, top 20 this week,' Kim said. 'I never (thought) about a win this week. Maybe I worry about the cut.'
 
Kim, whose last tour win in 2006 came after a three-hole playoff with Natalie Gulbis in the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic, hit her second shot in the playoff to the fringe on the back of the green, about 35 feet from the hole, and two-putted.
 
Inkster's second shot, using a 6-iron, sailed over the green. She chipped 8 feet past the hole but missed the par putt.
 
'I don't know if it was adrenaline or what, but I just hit it too far and didn't get it up and down,' Inkster said. 'Kind of disappointing.
 
'I've been putting good. I just felt like if I could get it within my reach, I could make it but it didn't happen.'
 
Six players held the lead at some point on a cloudy, humid day. The 6,602-yard Cedar Ridge Country Club course was soggy from storms that hit Oklahoma the past week.
 
Moments after Inkster bogeyed No. 17 to fall out of the lead, Kim curled in a breaking 15-foot birdie putt at No. 16 to take a two-shot edge. Inkster hit a 6-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to close the gap to one shot.
 
Kim hit her tee shot into the rough on the par-4 17th, but salvaged par, knocking a 5-foot putt into the center of the hole. On the 18th, her tee shot landed in the middle of the fairway but she hit into a greenside bunker and three-putted for bogey.
 
'After the bunker shot, I was so excited and nervous, so my hands were shaking,' Kim said. 'So when I marked the ball, my hand was shaking. So when I set up the putt, I know the line, but I can't stroke the putt.'
 
She said she wasn't nervous during the playoff, because at that point, 'You have to get more lucky. Juli's second shot was over the green, that was unlucky (for her). But that was lucky for me.'
 
The round started with four co-leaders -- Nicole Castrale, Rankin, Louden and Karin Sjodin -- who had not won on the tour. One by one, they all fell back.
 
Castrale, who led after the opening round, was still at 4 under through five holes, but bogeyed four of the next eight. Louden had four bogeys in her first six holes.
 
Sjodin, who played at nearby Oklahoma State, was tied with Inkster for the lead after a 3-foot birdie putt on No. 6, but big trouble followed on the 405-yard, par-4 eighth hole.
 
Sjodin's drive went into the deep rough and rolled into a ravine to the right of the fairway. Instead of trying to punch out, she tried an approach shot to the green that caromed off a tree at a 90-degree angle. Her ball ended up in tall grass by a tree adjacent to the 12th fairway, and she kicked her golf bag after seeing where her ball landed.
 
After taking a drop about 20 yards behind where her ball landed, she reached the green with her next shot, but three-putted from 70 feet for a triple bogey.
 
Inkster birdied the first two holes, chipped in for par at No. 4 and took the lead with a birdie on No. 6. She held at least a share of it until the bogey at No. 17.
 
'It's hard trying to win your first tournament, especially on a course like this where it's really tight and narrow and ... it just takes a little bit to get off,' said Inkster, who has 31 tour victories. 'They will learn from this experience. You can't really tell anybody how to react until they are in it and you have to kind of learn how to play and play with a lead or play tied for the lead.'
 
Tour officials moved up Sunday's tee times by two hours and used threesomes instead of twosomes in a successful effort to avoid weather problems.
 
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    Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

    By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

    One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

    Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

    "I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

    Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

    "I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

    Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

    "Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


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    Victory at Valderrama


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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm