Kim Defends Ochoa Looks To Lock Up POY


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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