Notes Kim a Favorite Marriage Proposals to Creamer

By Associated PressSeptember 10, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 Solheim CupCARMEL, Ind. -- The Solheim Cup atmosphere has given Christina Kim license to loosen up. As if she needed permission.
 
The 21-year-old California native with one LPGA Tour victory and a wealth of comedic talent is known for her unusual antics. But at this week's international event, Kim has become Crooked Stick's fan favorite.
 
In Kim's world, nothing is out of line and the stodgy, old rulebook is history.
 
She trades high-fives with fans between holes, usually talks to the ball like she is former American League Rookie of the Year Mark Fidrych and urges fans to make more noise. So in this tailgate-party atmosphere, Kim feels right at home.
 
``She's a firecracker, I just love her,'' said U.S. captain Nancy Lopez, a Hall of Famer. ``She gets everybody fired up. The team loves her.''
 
Saturday was a perfect example of Kim's versatility.
 
She played some wonderful shots, overcame a few mistakes and made what she called the best putt of her life: A par-saving 10-footer on No. 15 that kept the Americans 3-up against European rookies Ludivine Kreutz and Gwladys Nocera.
 
The celebration was purely Kim, too -- a flamboyant wave of the cap, a quick kick of the leg and a sprint from the 15th green to 16th tee before playing partner Natalie Gulbis fixed the ribbon in her pigtail. Then Kim sent her caddy, her father, back to retrieve the ball-marker that had fallen off the hat.
 
Kim took time in the morning to acknowledge a small group of fans on the 11th fairway who wore her trademark driving cap, and played team doctor in the afternoon by applying a bandage to partner Pat Hurst's foot.
 
Her fun-loving approach has kept teammates, such as Gulbis, relaxed. Gulbis smiled all day and sometimes laughed when Kim stuck out her tongue or bantered with the large gallery. Gulbis responded with her smoothest round in three matches.
 
And when they finally won the match 4-and-2 on No. 16, Kim jumped on top of a cooler, flailed her arms and implored the crowd to cheer louder even as Juli Inkster and Paula Creamer waited to play their approach shots on No. 16.
 
By the time, Inkster and Creamer arrived, the crowd was in a frenzy -- and, thanks in part to Kim, the Americans were ready to wrap up another match.
 
``I was kind of upset they were playing fourth today because I wanted them to be first again,'' Lopez said after putting her in the first afternoon group. ``But she says, 'Hey, we'll be cleanup. That's awesome. I love that attitude.''
 
PRACTICE PUTTING:
Laura Davies prefers to play quickly, and she was annoyed when she had to wait on several holes as the second game of the alternate-match session.
 
The culprit was Natalie Gulbis, playing in the match ahead, who practiced putting on just about every green.
 
``Why are we practice putting? We've been here since Monday,'' Davies said to Maria Hjorth as they approached the third green and Gulbis. ``It makes no sense. It's maddening.''
 
Three holes later, Davies arrived on the sixth tee and saw a familiar sight -- Gulbis alone on the green.
 
``She's doing it again,'' Davies said in disbelief.
 
Players are allowed to practice after the hole is completed, as long as they do not unduly hold up play.
 
Gulbis also practiced her putting after finishing holes Friday, and, at one point Friday afternoon, Gulbis' group was instructed to speed up play.
 
ROOKIE FATES:
European captain Catrin Nilsmark decided to keep two rookies, Ludivine Kreutz and Gwladys Nocera, out of action Friday so they could adapt to the pressure.
 
It didn't help.
 
The French playing partners lost two of the first three holes, trailed by as many as four and never got closer than two in a rout.
 
If Nilsmark had her way, they may not have played at all. But a rule adopted in 1994 requires team captains to play all 12 players before Sunday's singles matches.
 
Lopez, in contrast, thought she would need her three rookies to play well, so she got them acclimated Friday. The payoff came Saturday morning when all three -- Christina Kim, Natalie Gulbis and Paula Creamer -- won alternate-shot matches. Gulbis is now 2-1, Kim 1-0-1 and Creamer 1-1-1.
 
MARRIAGE PROPOSAL:
Two men standing beside the fourth tee, both with pot bellies and too much time on their hands, had a question for Paula Creamer.
 
One held a cardboard sign that said, ``Paula, will you marry me?'' with a box to be checked. The other held a cardboard sign that said, ``Or me?'' with another box.
 
Every player but Creamer saw the men and laughed. After Creamer split the middle with her tee shot, she looked over and started laughing.
 
``If you live in Utah, she could go with the both of you,'' Inkster said.
 
SURPRISE:
Annika Sorenstam is usually Europe's most reliable Solheim Cup players. Not Saturday morning.
 
Sorenstam, playing with Scotland's Catriona Matthew, had chances to extend their 2-up lead at Nos. 7, 8 and 9, but failed.
 
``If she had made a couple of those, I think they would have run away with the match,'' Nilsmark said.
 
Instead, Americans Michele Redman and Pat Hurst rallied with wins at Nos. 9 and 10 to square the match, and won on the 18th hole when Sorenstam hit her tee shot into the water.
 
DIVOTS:
The U.S. is now 25-28-8 all-time in the alternate-shot format. The Americans enter Sunday with a record of 48-33-7 in singles play. ... For the second consecutive day, the tee times for the best-ball were revised because the morning round went so long. ... The back nine that proved so costly for the Americans on Friday was a little more friendly Saturday morning. After losing 21 of 31 holes on Day 1, the Americans won 11 holes on the back side in the morning compared with eight for the Europeans.
 
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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

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    Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

    What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

    Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    “I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

    McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

    He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

    Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

    “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

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    Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

    Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

    Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

    Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

    Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

    Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.