Kim Birdies 72nd Hole to Win Womens Open

By Sports NetworkJune 26, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 U.S. WomenCHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. -- Birdie Kim lived up to her name on Sunday, holing a bunker shot for birdie on the 18th hole at Cherry Hills Country Club to win the U.S. Women's Open.
Kim defeated 17-year-old amateur Morgan Pressel, who was tied for the lead in the 18th fairway until Kim's hole-out, and 19-year-old amateur Brittany Lang by two shots.
Birdie Kim
Birdie Kim reacts after holing out an improbable bunker shot on the 72nd hole to win the U.S. Women's Open at Cherry Hills.
'I can't believe it,' said Kim, who collected the fourth birdie of the entire championship at the demanding par-4 closing hole. 'I tried to get par. I never thought about the ball going in the hole. It's amazing.'
Kim shot a 1-over 72 in the final round to finish the championship at 3-over-par 287.
Pressel, who shared the third-round lead, managed a 4-over-par 75 to join Lang, who fired an even-par 71, at plus-5.
Michelle Wie, the 15-year-old amateur who was part of the three-way tie with Pressel and reigning Women's British Open champion Karen Stupples, struggled badly on Sunday. She shot an 11-over 82 and tied for 23rd at plus-12.
'I haven't played this bad in a long time, so I definitely learned a lot of things from today,' said Wie, who finished second two weeks ago at the LPGA Championship. ''Difficult' would be too easy a word. It was really hard out there for me today.'
Wie double bogeyed the first when her drive landed in the left rough and it was all downhill from there. She finished out her front nine at 7-over 42, then had four bogeys, two birdies and a double bogey in a 4-over 40 on the back nine.
Annika Sorenstam never made a run in her quest for the third leg of the single-season Grand Slam. The Swede posted a 6-over 77 and was part of the group tied with Wie.
'I am disappointed, but I am going to leave here and I am going to know in my heart that I gave it all, it just did not happen,' said Sorenstam. 'Having said that, that just gives me something to work on. That's not a bad thing.'
Kim and Pressel were tied at 4 over par when Kim stepped on the tee at the 18th. The hole was ranked as the hardest in U.S. Women's Open Championship history and certainly claimed its victims on Sunday.
Lorena Ochoa reached 3 over par for the tournament thanks to four birdies on the back nine. Her drive at 18 was awful, as her club hit the ground first, then sent the ball short and left in the water.
Her third shot, once again from the tee, landed in the right rough, forcing her to chop out to the fairway. Ochoa's fifth hit the ground hard and bounced into the grandstands. She got a free drop and her sixth came up 10 feet short of the pin, where she missed for a quadruple-bogey and a 7 over-par total.
'I just gave the tournament away,' admitted Ochoa. 'I had a pretty good chance and I was feeling really good. I tried really hard and tried to do my best and I was fighting a lot for 71 holes, and all of a sudden just in the last one, you give everything away. It is a humble game, you have to learn from it.'
Next one to be humbled at the 18th was Natalie Gulbis. She was at 5 over par and with a par would have been the leader in the clubhouse. Gulbis' approach at 18 landed in the same bunker that Kim's ball would find one hour later.
Gulbis blasted out to 5 feet and her par putt never broke the way she thought.
Lang was up next and landed in that familiar sand trap. She blasted her third to roughly the same spot Gulbis found, and the result was the same. Lang missed the par putt right, so she got into the clubhouse at 5 over par.
'It's pretty exciting,' admitted Lang, who will turn professional at the end of the summer. 'I didn't look at the leaderboard all day, so I didn't really know exactly where I stood. I was happy with my week so I wasn't disappointed she made that bunker shot.'
Kim and Pressel separated themselves on the back nine, but due to Cherry Hills' difficulty, they came back to the pack.
Kim went ahead with a 12-foot birdie putt at the 11th, but ran into trouble at No. 14 when her drive was less than a foot from being out of bounds. She punched her second into the fairway, then knocked her third 20 feet right of the flag. Kim missed the par putt short, but tapped in for bogey.
Pressel was in trouble one hole behind. Her drive at 13 found the left rough, then her second came to rest in a front bunker. She blasted out to 4 feet, but Pressel missed the putt. She did hole a clutch par save at 15, but Kim had control of the tournament.
Kim was ahead by one shot until her tee ball at the par-4 16th ran into the rough. She pitched out with her second and hit her third from 133 yards out 40 feet short. Kim's par putt came up 3 feet short and it was a bogey, putting the two in a tie.
Both Kim and Pressel had makeable birdie putts at the par-5 17th. Kim, one group ahead of Pressel, missed her 20-footer, then the 17-year-old amateur failed from almost the same spot.
At the 18th, Kim drove into the fairway and hit a seven-wood into the right bunker. Her blast from the trap checked a bit, then rolled right into the cup for the amazing birdie.
'I didn't think of making, I just tried to get close,' said Kim, who pocketed $560,000 for the win. 'I tried my best to get par.'
In the fairway, Pressel looked on in disbelief.
'Anytime you miss the green there you don't know what to expect,' said Pressel. 'She hit a great shot. I was like, 'I can't believe this is happening to me.''
Pressel came up short and right with her approach, but if the ball landed a few feet more to the left, it could have rolled near the hole. Her pitch sailed long and right and Pressel threw her club at her bag in disgust.
She missed the par putt to tie fellow amateur Lang.
'It's positive I finished second in the Open, but I mean it was the fact that I was just so close,' lamented Pressel. 'If a couple of bounces would have gone my way, it would have been mine, but it's not.'
Kim collected her first LPGA Tour victory in her 34th start. She became the third player in tournament history to win this prestigious event in her first try.
Gulbis finished with an even-par 70 and tied for fourth with Lorie Kane, who fired a 2-under 69. The duo came in at 6-over-par 290.
Ochoa carded a 1-over 72 on Sunday and tied for sixth with Karine Icher (72), Candie Kung (74) and Young Jo (76) at 7-over-par 291.
Stupples struggled in the final round and shot a 7-over 78. She shared 10th place with Cristie Kerr (75) and Angela Stanford (76) at 8-over-par 292.
Defending champion Meg Mallon finished with a 2-over 73 and tied for 13th at plus-9.
Related Links:
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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''

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    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”

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    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.