Notes Kim a Favorite Marriage Proposals to Creamer

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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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