Kim with Another Strong Start

By Sports NetworkSeptember 23, 2004, 4:00 pm
AUBURN, Calif. -- Christina Kim fired a 7-under-par 64 Thursday to take the opening-round lead of the Longs Drugs Challenge. She leads by one over Australia's Rachel Teske at The Ridge Golf Course.
Juli Inkster, a two-time champion and one of many local favorites, Michelle Estill, Miriam Nagl and Beth Bauer are knotted in third place at 5-under-par 66.
Kim opened on the back nine Thursday and hit a 6-iron to 15 feet to set up birdie at the 10th. She parred her next four holes before the par-5 15th. Kim reached the green with a 5-iron for her second shot, and two-putted for her second birdie.
Kim birdied the 17th and made the turn at 3-under-par 32.
The 20-year-old parred three holes around the turn, then she hit a 5-iron at the par-3 third. Kim ran home the 4-foot birdie putt then flew up the leaderboard with her play on the final four holes.
At the sixth, Kim had only 94 yards left for her second shot. She hit it to 3 feet and made the birdie putt to reach 5 under par for the championship.
Kim used a pitching-wedge for her second shot at the eighth and hit it to 7 feet. She drained the birdie putt, then went one clear of the field at No. 9. Kim wedged her third to 8 feet at the par-5 hole and sank the birdie putt to take the first-round lead.
Kim was born and raised in nearby San Jose, and all week she has tried to accommodate several ticket requests. She expects 30 or so friends and family members each round, but the second-year pro looks forward to it.
'I'm going to have an entourage tomorrow,' said Kim. 'There's no way to describe it, it just rocks. It's such an interesting golf course, and the fact that I'm two hours from home, it's so awesome.'
Kim has been close to the top of the leaderboard in two of her last three starts, including a heartbreaking second to Cristie Kerr at the State Farm Classic. Kim is still looking for win No. 1 on tour, but is just enjoying being in the hunt.
'To be able to be up here and saying, 'I'm playing up to par with some of the best in the world is just such a great feeling,'' said Kim. 'I won't have any idea what it would be like until I'm at the moment. It's been a roller coaster ride.'
Teske played the course from the first, but failed to tally a single birdie on the front nine. She caught fire on the back nine to get within one of the lead.
Teske hit a 5-iron to 2 feet to set up birdie at the 10th. At the par-5 11th, the Australian missed the green short, but chipped to 2 feet and tapped in for birdie. She made it three in a row at No. 12 when she rolled in a 15-footer.
She used a 4-iron at the par-3 14th, and ran her tee ball to 3 feet. Teske converted the birdie putt, then reached the par-5 15th in two with a 7-wood. Teske holed the 10-foot eagle putt to get to 6 under par for the tournament.
'I don't know what happened,' said Teske. 'It's been a while since I have struck the ball that crisply on so many shots. I gained a lot of confidence from that so I really enjoyed it.'
Defending champion Helen Alfredsson, Laura Davies, Kim Saiki, Pat Hurst, Candy Hannemann, Leta Lindley and last week's Safeway Classic champion Hee-Won Han are tied in seventh place at 4-under-par 67.
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    Chamblee comments on Choi's unique step-through swing

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 24, 2018, 3:55 pm

    The golf world found itself enamored with a largely unknown journeyman this weekend.

    Ho-sung Choi went from 554th in the world to No. 1 in the hearts of all those who swing the golf club just a little bit differently thanks to his run at the Korean Open.

    The 44-year-old with the exaggerated step through impact found himself two off the pace through 54 holes and in contention for one of two available invitations to this year's Open Championship at Carnoustie.

    Choi fell out of the hunt for tournament title and the Open exemption with a final-round 74, but nonetheless left an impression with his tie for fifth.

    Asked about Choi's swing Saturday night, Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee offered the following:

    "If Chi Chi Rodriguez and Gary Player had a golf school, what would their first professional golfer swing like? Voila," Chamblee said.

    "Both those legends had walk through finishes, but Ho Sung has taken this move to a new level with a borderline pirouette to keep from hanging back.

    "In an era when professional golfers get accused of having golf swings that all look alike, I’ve never seen anyone swing quite like Ho Sung Choi.

    "I can’t wait to try this on the range tomorrow."

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    Wallace holds off charges to win BMW International

    By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 3:43 pm

    PULHEIM, Germany - England's Matt Wallace shot a 7-under 65 to hold off a record-breaking charge from Thorbjorn Olesen and win the BMW International Open on Sunday.

    Wallace finished on 10-under 278 - just ahead of Olesen, Mikko Korhonen and 2008 winner Martin Kaymer, whose chances took a blow with a bogey on the 17th hole.

    ''I want to keep building on this,'' Wallace said after his third European Tour win. ''Obviously this gives me a lot of confidence to go on and play well and I want to kick on and hopefully do this in the bigger events from now on.''

    Full-field scores from the BMW International Open

    Olesen had played himself into contention with the lowest round in tournament history, with nine birdies and an eagle for an 11-under 61. It was the lowest round of his European Tour career and it gave the Dane a three-shot lead before the final group had even teed off.

    ''I was just trying today to go out there and build on my game, see if I could shoot a low score,'' Olesen said. ''Obviously as the round progressed I kept on thinking birdies and trying to make the round better. Finishing with four birdies was pretty nice.''

    Wallace turned in 34 but then made five birdies in seven holes from the turn to edge a shot past Olesen. He waited as Kaymer and Korhonen went close with rounds of 68 and 67, respectively.

    England's Aaron Rai and Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard finished joint-fifth with rounds of 69.

    Sunghyun Park (left) and Minchel Choi (right). Getty Images

    Choi, Park qualify for Carnoustie from Korean Open

    By Nick MentaJune 24, 2018, 2:54 pm

    Two players - Minchel Choi and Sanghyun Park - qualified for next month's Open Championship at Carnoustie via the Open Qualifying Series on Sunday.

    Choi (69) held off Park (66) to win the Korean Open by two shots.

    This was the Qualifying Series debut for the Korean Open, whiched awarded Open Championship exemptions to the tournament's top two finishers inside the top eight and ties who were not already qualified.

    Choi, the 532nd-ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking, punched his ticket in his first professional win.

    Park, the 146th in the world, is a six-time Korean Tour champion who has already won twice this season. 

    Both players will be making their first ever major starts.

    “I am absolutely honored to be playing in The Open and I wanted to win this championship to give me [that] opportunity," Choi said. "I cannot believe that I have won today. I am so happy and excited."

    “It is a great honor to have qualified for The Open and make my first appearance in the championship," Park added. "I’ve watched The Open on television every single year and I can’t really believe that I have qualified, it is amazing."

    The Open Qualifying Series continues next week at the Open de France, where as many as three exemptions will be awarded to the three leading players inside the top 10 and ties who are not already qualified.

    The 147th Open will be held at Carnoustie from July 19-22.

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    Minjee Lee co-leads Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

    By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 12:25 am

    ROGERS, Ark. - Minjee Lee wasn't all that concerned when she missed her first cut of the year this month at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

    The ninth-ranked Australian has certainly looked at ease and back in form at Pinnacle Country Club in her first event since then.

    Lee and Japan's Nasa Hataoka each shot 6-under 65 on Saturday to share the second-round lead in the NW Arkansas Championship 13-under 129. Lee is chasing her fifth victory since turning pro three years ago. It's also an opportunity to put any lingering frustration over that missed cut two weeks ago behind her for good.

    ''I didn't particularly hit it bad, even though I missed the cut at ShopRite, I just didn't really hole any putts,'' Lee said. ''I'd been hitting it pretty solid going into that tournament and even into this tournament, too. Just to see a couple putts roll in has been nice.''

    The 22-year-old Lee needed only 24 putts during her opening 64 on Friday, helping her to match the low round of her career. Despite needing 28 putts Saturday, she still briefly took the outright lead after reaching as low as 14 under after a birdie on the par-5 seventh.

    Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship

    Lee missed the green on the par-4 ninth soon thereafter to lead to her only bogey of the day and a tie with the 19-year-old Hataoka, who is in pursuit of her first career win.

    Hataoka birdied six of eight holes midway through her bogey-free round on Saturday. It was yet another stellar performance from the Japanese teenager, who has finished in the top 10 in four of her last five tournaments and will be a part of Sunday's final pairing.

    ''I try to make birdies and try to be under par, that's really the key for me to get a top ten,'' Hataoka said. ''Golf is just trying to be in the top 10 every single week, so that's the key.''

    Third-ranked Lexi Thompson matched the low round of the day with a 64 to get to 11 under. She hit 17 of 18 fairways and shot a 5-under 30 on her opening nine, The American is in search of her first win since September in the Indy Women in Tech Championship.

    Ariya Jutanugarn and Celine Boutier were 10 under.

    First-round leader Gaby Lopez followed her opening 63 with a 75 to drop to 4 under. Fellow former Arkansas star Stacy Lewis also was 4 under after a 72.