Finally over her infamous miss, Kim taking flight

By Randall MellAugust 5, 2017, 8:32 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – The gasps echoed beyond Mission Hills and through golf’s history of tortured finishes.

If you were there five years ago, you can still almost hear them.

If you were there, you can still see In-Kyung Kim covering her mouth in stunned disbelief after missing that 14-inch putt that would have won her the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

It was more painful to watch than Scott Hoch’s short miss when he lost the Masters to Nick Faldo in 1989, shorter than Doug Sanders’ miss when he lost the British Open to Jack Nicklaus in ’70 and shorter than Sam Snead’s miss that would have won his first and only U.S. Open in ’47.

It was the shortest miss that would have won a major in the history of the game.

You knew the failure would follow her everywhere she went, making any future journey at a second chance to win a major so much harder.

But now here she is.

And, wow, is she making this Ricoh Women’s British Open look easy.

With a 6-under-par 66 Saturday, Kim shot to the top of the leaderboard at Kingsbarns Golf Links. At 17-under 199, she set the record for lowest score through 54 holes of this championship since it became a major in 2001. She’s six shots ahead of England’s Georgia Hall (70) and Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn (67). She’s just two shots from equaling Karen Stupples’ 19-under record as a Women’s British Open champion.

After Saturday’s round, Kim didn’t dance around the shadow that follows her. She didn’t deny the scar. She talked about how she had to learn to stop beating herself up over it in order to move on with her golf life.

There was elegance in the way she explained it.

“I think I'm finally able to let go of that, like the title, not having won a major,” Kim said. “I think that's why that I'm playing so well.

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“I think I was quite disappointed at myself after 2012, when I made the mistake. Everybody makes mistakes, but I think it was nobody else's problem. It was my problem. I really criticized myself a lot, and it's not very healthy. So if you have any problems, just let it go.”

Kim said she got a lot of help from coaches who confront demons like that, from Vision54s Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott, from former Olympic gold medalist sharp shooter Lanny Bassham and from NASA specialist Mathew Park.

“All I have to say, it's been quite tough, but I started to work on myself, not only on the golf course, but off the golf course,” Kim said. “Just be nice to myself, and able to have some kind of compassion and gentleness with myself. I think it's really helping me to play better.”

Kim lost that 2012 Kraft Nabisco in a playoff to Sung Young Yoo after missing the 14-inch putt that would have won her first major. She slowly slipped from No. 5 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings to a low of No. 76 late last summer, but she never completely lost her game. She just seemed to lose the edge that got her in contention so often.

Through these last 10 months, Kim has never looked better. She won the Reignwood Classic last fall, her first victory since the Kraft Nabisco loss. And she has won twice this season, giving her six career LPGA titles. She has climbed to No. 21 in the world now.

Kim, 29, says she meditates and has more peace of mind in dealing with the cruelties of this game. She says she has learned to enjoy the game again.

“If I love myself, I will let it go,” she said of the disappointments. “I will live today as fully as I could. Because, some things happen, and it's not in my control, but I can control my state of mind right now. I can be positive now, and that's what I'm doing. Just one day at a time.”

If she closes out Sunday, Kim will script a nice tale of resolve and resilience.

No matter what happens, though, she’s ready to accept it.

“I know the expectation, and I will make bogeys, yeah, and things like that,” Kim said. “But I feel like I think I should give myself a little bit of credit, and enjoy tonight, and then whatever happens tomorrow, I'll take it tomorrow.”

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Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.