Four-year wait worth it for Christina Kim

Christina Kim’s 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 Gustafson’s 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 couldn’t 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 didn’t 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, “That’s 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 I’ve still got a little bit of voice left in me for tomorrow,” Kim said. “Going to save up.”


Christina Kim listens to Dad to stay calm at British Open, shoots 71


LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England — Christina Kim does not regard herself as the most patient of players, saying she’s often teed off on the golf course.

But the American followed her father’s orders to be patient Saturday, shooting a 1-under 71 to head into the final round of the Women’s British Open in second place. She birdied the 18th hole to trail leader Catriona Matthew of Scotland by three shots.

“He said just to go out and try to be patient,” said Kim of their phone call. “He said if any birdies come along, take them. But don’t be too distraught if you make a few bogeys, and just take it one shot at a time. I’d like to think I heeded his advice pretty well today.”

She finished with two birdies and one bogey.

Asked if she ever got in a bad mood on the course, Kim replied: “Oh, if you only knew. Absolutely, about every round I’ve had coming into this week.”

Her naturally voluble personality on course owes a lot to Lee Trevino, the master showman of the men’s game.

“Growing up, I watched Lee Trevino play a lot of golf and I thought, ‘Man, that dude is cool,”‘ she said. “He wears his heart on his sleeve, his emotions run high and sometimes your emotions help push you to a better place in your golf.

“I’ve been known, even when I’m having a good day, to talk to myself. Then, I’ll sit there and chastise and yell at myself or moan about anything. Moan, whine, anything like that.”

Kim will play Sunday with Matthew and said the links course at the Royal Lytham and St. Annes Golf Club suits her rival.

“I think Catriona is a phenomenal player and she’s got a bit of an advantage being Scottish with this kind of golf course,” Kim said. “She’s an absolute diamond and I adore her, so it will be a wonderful day. I’m really thrilled.”

Kim lives in Florida where her home course, Grand Cypress in Orlando, was designed by Jack Nicklaus with a variety of links-style holes.

“So, I have a bit of links-style golf in me,” Kim said. “And I’ve been coming over to this event for seven years, so I’ve played links golf a little bit. It’s such a different type of golf here, carving shots into the wind and playing around the bunkers and using your creativity.”

Which is why she needed her father’s advice.

“Patience is a huge factor,” she said. “I’m a big fan of instant gratification, but I’m learning.”

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