2002-08-07 / Sports

First-time winner tops the field at Knob Hill Golf Club

Christina Kim win
Garden State FUTURES
Summer Classic on
sixth playoff hole

Christina Kim win
Garden State FUTURES
Summer Classic on
sixth playoff hole


VERONICA YANKOWSKI Christina Kim reacts after sinking the winning putt on the sixth playoff hole at Sunday’s Garden State FUTURES Summer Classic at Knob Hill Golf Club, Manalapan.VERONICA YANKOWSKI Christina Kim reacts after sinking the winning putt on the sixth playoff hole at Sunday’s Garden State FUTURES Summer Classic at Knob Hill Golf Club, Manalapan.

MANALAPAN — It took 16 attempts, but she finally did it. In a head-to-head rookie battle under sweltering conditions of 103 degrees, 18-year-old Christina Kim of San Jose, Calif., prevailed on the sixth sudden-death-playoff hole to defeat Lorena Ochoa of Guadalajara, Mexico, for her first-ever professional victory at the $60,000 Hewlett-Packard Garden State FUTURES Summer Classic.

After regulation play, Kim and Ochoa finished tied at 199 (-14) on the 5,979 par 71 Knob Hill Golf Club in Manalapan. Kim shot a final round five-under-par 66, while Ochoa fired a bogey-free 67 (-4). First- and second-round leader Sue Ginter-Brooker of Appleton, Wis., shot a final-round 74 (+3) and ended in third at 201 (-12).

The playoff holes were conducted on the par four 312-yard 17th hole and the 402-yard par four 18th hole. Starting on 18, both players parred until the sixth and final attempt on number 17. Kim’s second shot landed 66 yards from the flag. She used her lob wedge and pitched the ball to just under 1 foot.

Meanwhile, Ochoa’s approach shot from 60 yards landed 15 feet past the hole on the fringe. Ochoa missed the birdie opportunity by an inch. Kim proceeded to make her putt for birdie to win, six hours and 20 minutes after the round began.

Kim believes her performance on the first playoff attempt was critical. Her approach shot from 145 yards landed in the greenside bunker, 30 yards from the pin. Kim chipped the ball to 9 feet and made the putt for par. Ochoa’s approach shot from 145 yards landed 30 feet from the cup on the fringe and her chip shot for birdie landed 2 feet past the pin.

"That chip shot out of the bunker was the best shot I had all week," exclaimed Kim after the awards ceremony. "It was the first playoff hole, and I was already in the bunker. All I wanted to do was get the ball close to the cup because Lorena (Ochoa) takes advantage of every opportunity she gets. Luckily, that chip shot landed right where I wanted it to."

Ochoa, who posted her fourth runner-up finish, said, "I missed two short putts during regulation that would have given me the win, but I was happy that I could hang in there to make it into the playoff. The putts were not dropping for me and this just was not my tournament to win."

Kim started the day tied for third at 133 (-9), six shots behind leader Ginter-Brooker and only one shot short of Ochoa. She birdied one, three, six and bogeyed seven to go to 11-under-par for the tournament. At the turn, Kim was four shots behind Ginter-Brooker and one shot shy of Ochoa. Ginter-Brooker had one birdie and one bogey on the front side, and Ochoa picked up two birdies through nine holes.

Kim added three birdies on 12, 14 and 16 to take the outright lead over Ginter-Brooker, who bogeyed 11 and 13. Ochoa, who is known for her strong finishes, birdied 16 and 17 to tie Kim at 14-under-par for the tournament and forced the playoff.


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