Kim Defends Ochoa Looks To Lock Up POY

By Lpga Tour MediaNovember 7, 2006, 5:00 pm
LPGA logo for LeaderboardsYou can count on one thing for sure this week at The Mitchell Company LPGA Tournament of Champions presented by Kathy Ireland Worldwide. Defending champion Christina Kim will not shy away from defending her title ' shy is not in Kim's vocabulary.
 
The outgoing and personable 22-year-old will look to hit the links just as aggressive as last year to win the 2006 title. Last season, Kim used a final-round 67 to finish at 15-under-par for the tournament and earned her second career LPGA Tour victory. She went into the day in a three-way tie for second and one shot off leader Liselotte Neumann. Kim used a 42-foot birdie putt on the third hole and a two-putt birdie on number four to keep pace with Neumann, but a double bogey by Neumann on hole 13 gave Kim a two-shot lead.
 
Kim made one birdie over the final five holes and took a one-shot lead to 18, but her second shot was shy of the green and Kim found herself in three-putt territory. She rolled her putt 53 feet'just coming shy of making it'and then had to watch as Rachel Hetherington had a 20-foot birdie attempt to pull even. Hetherington's putt slid to the right and Kim had her second title.
 
This season, Kim has recorded three top-10 finishes, including a season best tie for fifth place at the Ginn Clubs & Resorts Open. She tied for seventh place at the Safeway Classic Presented by Pepsi and most recently she tied for sixth place at the Honda LPGA Thailand 2006. Kim's first career victory came during the 2004 season at the Longs Drugs Challenge, after recording all rounds in the 60s.
 
The Mitchell Company LPGA Tournament of Champions is one of the most prestigious events on Tour and showcases a field of proven winners. The fields consists of 40 competitors who have won at least one event on the LPGA Tour since the start of the 2003 season.
 
Headlining the event this week is ADT Official Money List leader Lorena Ochoa. The 24-year-old looks to secure Rolex Player of the Year honors with a high finish. Ochoa, who has amassed $2,342,872 in season earnings, has been victorious five times this season to bring her career total to eight wins.
 
Cristie Kerr, who has recorded three wins this year, is also scheduled to compete this week.
 
Five players will be competing at The Mitchell Company LPGA tournament of Champions for the first time. Jin Joo Hong (KOLON-Hana Bank Championship), Joo Mi Kim (SBS Open at Turtle Bay), Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Seon-Hwa Lee (ShopRite LPGA Classic), Brittany Lincicome (HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship) and Sung Ah Yim (Florida's Natural Charity Championship) all earned their maiden LPGA victories this year and, thus, a spot in this elite event.
 
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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.