Sorenstam Kim Ready for Challenge

By Lpga Tour MediaOctober 4, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 Longs Drugs ChallengeAUBURN, Calif. -- Christina Kim is used to playing a lot of golf. In her three-year career on the LPGA Tour, the 21-year-old has played in 84 of 85 tournaments in which she has been eligible to compete.
 
However, this week she is doing more than competing. Expect Kim to be a little more giddy than usual, because when she tees it up in the $1 million Longs Drugs Challenge, she won't just be one of the 144 women trying to win the last full-field event of the season, she will be the defending champion.
 
Kim, who grew up in nearby San Jose, Calif., became a Rolex First-Time Winner a year ago competing in her 53rd event as an LPGA member. Since then, she has become one of the most charming, colorful and accommodating members of the Association. With bright clothes, a Crest-worthy smile and a quick wit, she is an instant fan favorite and a reporter's dream interview.
 
Turns out, she is also is quite a cheerleader. As a member of this year's winning U.S. Solheim Cup Team, Kim posted a 2-1-1 record to help secure the victory, but the lasting image from this year's competition will be of her encouraging her teammates to victory. With red, white and blue streamers in her pigtails, which flowed from a backward blue beret emblazoned with a U.S. flag, the gregarious Kim was a visible and vocal force for her team. She led fans in chants and cheers until she was hoarse, and by that time, the U.S. had won back The Solheim Cup.
 
This week, the LPGA's Ironwoman is back to competing as an individual in her 26th tournament this year and 85th of her career. Nobody plays more events then Kim, and you would be hard pressed to find someone that has more fun.
 
Just how often does Kim play? Well, consider the fact that Annika Sorenstam is playing in the Longs Drugs Challenge this year for the first time since 2001, when she finished tied for 43rd. In the time span between her last visit and this week, which is more than four years, Sorenstam has competed in 92 LPGA events. That is only eight more than Kim, who in 2001 was still competing in the U.S. Girls Junior Championship.
 
Sorenstam has seven wins on Tour this year and 63 for her career, but the last time fans at the Longs Drugs Challenge saw her was 36 wins and $10 million ago. It was before she became a one-name superstar, teed it up with the men at Colonial and became a member of the LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame. Now, every tournament Sorenstam enters, she is the favorite to win.
 
No sport has seen an athlete who has been able to maintain dominance as long as Sorenstam. She has earned more than $18 million in career earnings and is the only player to earn more than $2 million in a season, something she has done the previous four years and is on the verge of doing again this year. No other player in LPGA history has earned more than $2 million in a season. Sorenstam has finished atop the ADT Official Money List seven times in her career, is a seven-time Rolex Player of the Year and a five-time Vare Trophy winner for lowest scoring average. Not surprisingly, she leads all three categories again this year.
 
Last year, Kim carded four rounds in the 60s to finish the tournament at 18-under-par 266 to hold off a pair of LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame members in Karrie Webb by one stroke and Juli Inkster by two.
 
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    Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 3:48 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.

    Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.

    Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.

    “Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”

    The problem was an expired visa.

    Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.

    No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.

    His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.

    One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.

    His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.

    “Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”

    He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.

    “It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”

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    'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

    Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

    “The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

    The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

    “That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”

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    Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:28 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.

    “They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.

    “The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”