Kim attacks Augusta National with perspective

By Associated PressApril 10, 2009, 4:00 pm
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AUGUSTA, Ga. ' After his first Masters round, Anthony Kim wondered if hed even be around for the weekend.
 
Not to worry.
 
If Kim keeps playing the way he did Friday, he might have to clear a spot in his closet for a green jacket.
 
Attacking the course with reckless abandon ' and the proper perspective ' Kim blistered Augusta National for a record 11 birdies in the second round, proving again why hes considered the best of this latest generation of Tiger Woods wannabes.
 
With a 7-under-par 65, Kim surged into contention for his first major title heading into the weekend, five strokes behind co-leaders and Ryder Cup teammates Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell.
 
The brash, 23-year-old Californian posted 10 strokes better than an abysmal 75 on Thursday, when the conditions were perfect for scoring but Kim looked overwhelmed in his first Masters appearance.
 
Even though the wind picked up and the greens firmed up, Kim managed to break a more than two-decades-old record for most birdies in a round. Nick Price had 10 of them on his way to a record-setting 63 at the 1986 Masters.
 
I havent been making 11 birdies in two days, Kim said, breaking into a big smile. So to make 11 in one day is pretty special. And, obviously, to do it at Augusta is amazing. Hopefully, I can build off that. If I can keep the putter hot, I like my chances here.
 
Kim rolled in five putts of at least 15 feet, looking like a veteran on Augustas slick, baffling greens.
 
I just said, Stay steady, he recalled. The first goal is to make the cut, and then make a run on Saturday and Sunday. The putts kept falling, so I just kept walking them in and going to the next hole.
 
Reading about the death of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart helped Kim shake off his poor round Thursday, and allowed him to cope with the frustration of making a bogey at No. 9, then double-bogey on the next hole.
 
Instead of feeling sorry for himself, Kim said he thought about Adenhart, 22, who died early Thursday shortly after pitching six scoreless innings when the car carrying him and three friends was broadsided, allegedly by a drunken driver.
 
I got refocused on the 11th tee and said, Lets make some good swings. No matter what I shoot, I want to put this tournament round in perspective, Kim recalled. Look, its been a dream of mine to be at the Masters my whole life, and theres no reason to pout about a bogey or a three-putt, but enjoy being out here and enjoy all of the hard work that was put in by myself and my parents. Go out there and have some fun.
 
I think thats what made the 11 birdies a lot easier.
 
While no one expects to make that many birdies, Kims rise up the leaderboard was hardly unexpected. Hes been touted as a potential rival to Woods ever since he stepped on the PGA Tour, and two wins last year seemed to justify the hype. When he helped lead the Americans to a Ryder Cup victory at Valhalla, firing up the team with his emotional play, it seemed nothing could halt his march to stardom.
 
Kim tied for second in his first event of 2009, but nagging injuries marred his performance in the weeks leading up to Augusta. He proclaimed himself fully recovered, which made his ragged showing in the first round even harder to understand.
 
There was a sense of urgency (Thursday) night when I was leaving the golf course, Kim said. I knew I had to get off to a good start, and the wind was picking up. I didnt know what the score would be.
 
At one point, Kim looked up to see Campbell at 11 under and all hope fading away.
 
I knew I needed to get to even par, or maybe 1 under, to make the cut, Kim said. Once I got there, I started moving along.
 
Kim ripped off four straight birdies on the front side. A 20-footer at No. 5 dropped in. So did a 15-footer at No. 6. He stuck a 9-iron to 3 feet at No. 7. Finally, he rolled in a 10-footer at the par-5 eighth.
 
After shaking off those two poor holes on each side of the turn, Kim started another run of four straight birdies. He knocked at 8-iron to 15 feet at the picturesque 12th hole in Amen Corner. He chipped to 15 feet at 13 and made that putt, too. A pitching wedge stopped just 8 inches from the hole at 14. Capping it off, a two-putt birdie at the par-5 15th.
 
Prices record fell at the final hole, where a monstrous drive left Kim with only an 8-iron to the flag. He knocked it to about 12 feet and, of course, made the putt.
 

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  • If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


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    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

    Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

    This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

    “I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

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    Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

    In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

    If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Web.com Tour finals.

    “He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

    Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

    By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

    Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

    ''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

    The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

    The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    ''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

    ''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

    First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

    Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

    ''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

    ''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''