Little Kim Earns Giant Win

By Sports NetworkJuly 21, 2002, 4:00 pm
VIENNA, Ohio -- Mi Hyun Kim posted a three-under 69 Sunday to come from behind and win the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic. She finished with a 54-hole total of 14-under-par 202, one stroke ahead of overnight leader Kelly Robbins.
Dorothy Delasin, who won this event the past two years, made a strong run at the end with a final-round 67. She finished three shots off the pace at 11- under-par 205 with Grace Park (67).
Kim finished the second round one stroke behind Robbins, who managed to hold off a Saturday charge by the 5-foot-1 Korean. On Sunday, Kim's challenge was too much as she put together a bogey-free round to overtake Robbins at Squaw Creek Country Club.
Kim tallied her first birdie of the day at the par-4 third. She knocked her 5-iron inside six feet to reach 12-under but Robbins held her ground with some solid play of her own.
Robbins, in search of her first win since 1999, birdied the fifth and hit a 9-iron to 12 feet for birdie at the ninth to make a turn at minus-14. She held a two-shot edge over Kim until both players stepped onto the par-4 11th, where the momentum shifted.
Kim hit a brilliant second shot within two feet of the hole to set up birdie while Robbins found the sand with her approach. Robbins blasted out of the bunker but failed to save par from six feet. Kim converted her short putt for the birdie and the duo was tied at 13-under.
Both players were shoulder-to-shoulder until the deciding par-4 17th. Kim hit another remarkable approach and watched as the ball stopped four feet from the cup. The diminutive 25-year-old drained the putt to take the outright lead and never looked back.
'I was nervous because I missed a lot of putts before 17,' said Kim. 'Every time my putts were a double-break. Seventeen was a double-break too. So, I was just a little bit nervous.'
At the closing hole, Robbins missed the green with her second shot but gave a valiant effort with her third. She chipped from off the green and nearly made birdie, then tapped in for par and a one-under 71.
Kim put the finishing touches on a two-putt par to secure the win and the $150,000 first prize.
'I hit it very strong,' Kim said of her first putt on 18. 'I didn't know I was that strong, because I was a little bit nervous. The green was a little bumpy because a lot of the players had been walking on it.'
Kim won for the first time since the 2000 Safeway LPGA Golf Championship. The victory was her fourth on the LPGA Tour.
For Robbins, a nine-time LPGA Tour winner, her second runner-up finish of the year was bittersweet.
'I just really couldn't get the ball close enough,' said Robbins. 'The greens did get a tad bumpy. We knew that was going to happen again. Any time you can finish second, you feel a little short-sighted. At least I did have a shot coming in at the end.'
Tammie Green, another two-time winner of the Giant Eagle, fired a final-round 65 to finish at 10-under-par 206. She was joined by first-round co-leader Beth Bader and tour rookie Natalie Gulbis.
Michele Redman and Pat Hurst tied for eighth at nine-under 207.
Full field scores from the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic
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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.