Four-year wait worth it for Christina Kim

By Associated PressAugust 21, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 Solheim CupSUGAR GROVE, Ill. ' Christina Kims victory was four years in the making.
The personable and outgoing ' some might call her loud ' American teamed with Natalie Gulbis to beat European heavyweights Suzann Pettersen and Sophie Gustafson 4-and-2 Friday afternoon. Not only did they give the U.S. team a critical point, they ended Gustafsons undefeated streak in foursomes.
Gustafson had been 4-0-4.
It was pretty darn special out there, Kim said. I had a wonderful time, and I had some great memories, having played with Natalie, both of us in our first Solheim together, and I couldnt have asked for a better partner. The energy out there was palpable. It was truly incredible.
Kim made an impressive debut at the 2005 Solheim Cup, going 2-1-1, including a foursomes win with Gulbis. But she didnt qualify for the 2007 squad and was passed over by U.S. captain Betsy King ' deservedly, Kim said.
The disappointment has driven her these last two years, and Kim made every second of her day Friday count. She was one of the first Americans out on the first tee in the morning, revving up the crowd before the fourball matches went off. She played cheerleader, too, riding a cart around the course to root on the Americans.
But nothing could match her enthusiasm during her match with Gulbis.
The two got off to a fast start with birdies on the first two holes, and made the turn 3-up. When she needed to make a 10-footer to halve the 13th hole, she never faltered and was already holding her putter up in triumph before the ball found the hole. As the crowd roared, Kim nodded her head and said, Thats right.
When Gulbis got in trouble off the tee on 16, Kim bailed them out with a nice chip onto the green. The Europeans then conceded.
I was chomping at the bit since 8:05 this morning sending off the groups, and Ive still got a little bit of voice left in me for tomorrow, Kim said. Going to save up.
SHES BAAAACK!: It might be a few years before Helen Alfredsson is considered for European captain again.
Shes playing too well for the Europeans to lose her.
Alfredsson scored her first Solheim Cup points since 2002 on Friday, making a clutch putt on 18 to give her and rookie Tania Elosegui a 1-up fourball victory over Juli Inkster and Angela Stanford. It was the only match Europe won in the morning.
I feel great that we walked away with a win, Alfredsson said.
Alfredsson served as Europes captain two years, her playing career sidetracked by back and hamstring injuries. But the 44-year-old is healthy again, and is playing her best golf in years. She won the Evian Masters last year for a third time, and was runner-up at the U.S. Womens Open.
This year, shes got two top-10 finishes, including a tie for fifth at Evian.
And she gave Europe a huge early boost.
The Americans had already won two matches and were leading in a third by the time Alfredsson and Elosegui got to 18 with a 1-up lead. Alfredssons second shot landed in the rough on the side of the green, and her chip shot ran to the bottom of the green. But she rolled her birdie putt in, yelling and giving an emphatic fist pump as the ball dropped into the cup.
I knew we had to make birdie to win it, Alfredsson said. It was a tough shot. But it was nice: I walked up to the putt and saw the line, and thats what I want.
The points were Alfredssons first since she and Suzann Pettersen won their first foursomes match in 2002.
A QUIET GALLERY?:Other players couldnt get over the crowds energy. Cristie Kerr expected more.
The crowds out here, I think they need to get a whole lot louder, she said after teaming with Paula Creamer to beat Suzann Pettersen and Sophie Gustafson 1-up in the morning.
Fans cheered just about every big shot and chanted U-S-A! USA! They waved flags and wore shirts and jackets with the red, white and blue, but Kerr was expecting more noise. At 6,670 yards, Rich Harvest Farms is the longest course in Solheim Cup history, so that might have toned down the volume. There was also a big traffic jam from the highway to the course early in the morning.
Maybe its all the open spaces, but I think theyll get a little more fired up as the week goes on, Kerr said.
NO SHORTCUT: Laura Davies had the right idea.
In a deep hole to Brittany Lincicome and Brittany Lang in the morning fourballs, Davies tried to take a shortcut on the 12th hole. The dogleg on the 342-yard par-4 is so sharp its practically a right angle, so the big hitter decided to go for the green off the tee ' never mind that cluster of towering trees in her way.
After waiting for the group in front to clear the green, Davies launched a booming shot. It cleared the trees, but landed well short of the green in a patch of weeds and leaves. No matter. Playing partner Becky Brewerton put her approach shot 5 feet above the hole, then knocked it in for a birdie to win the hole.
That was one of the lone highlights of the match for the Europeans. They took just two holes ' Brewerton won both of them ' and lost 5-and-4 to the Americans.
Obviously disappointed. Ive let Becky down today, Davies said. I didnt hit enough fairways really. I hit two really poor tee shots, and apart from that, the good ones were going in the rough. You cant play this golf course in the rough, and she had no backup.
DIVOTS: Soccer great Mia Hamm was among the spectators. None of the afternoon matches went to the 18th hole. All 12 Americans played Friday while rookie Diana Luna was the only European who didnt get in a match.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Solheim Cup
  • Getty Images

    Five-time Open champ Thomson passes at 88

    By Associated PressJune 20, 2018, 1:35 am

    MELBOURNE, Australia – Five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson has died, his family said Wednesday. He was 88.

    Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and died at his Melbourne home surrounded by family members on Wednesday morning.

    Born on Aug, 23, 1929, Thomson was two months short of his 89th birthday.

    The first Australian to win The Open Championship, Thomson went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equaled only by Tom Watson.

    On the American senior circuit he won nine times in 1985.

    Thomson also served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years, designing and building courses in Australia and around the world, helping establish the Asian Tour and working behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organization where he was chairman for five years.

    He also wrote for newspapers and magazines for more than 60 years and was patron of the Australian Golf Writers Association.

    In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.

    Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

    Funeral arrangements were to be announced over the next few days.

    Getty Images

    Gaston leaves USC to become head coach at Texas A&M

    By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

    In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

    Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

    This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

    Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

    Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

    The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.  

    Getty Images

    Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout

    By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 9:44 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.

    Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.

    Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    “Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”

    Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.

    “There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”

    Getty Images

    Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

    By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

    Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

    Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

    Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

    “Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

    Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

    “Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

    Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.