Lincicome and Lewis share first round of Kraft Nabisco Championship

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Brittany Linicome at Nabisco Tournament

Brittany Linicome at Nabisco Tournament

Lincicome and Stacy Lewis are splitting more than dinner checks and lodging bills at the LPGA Tour’s first major of the year.

The fast friends and occasional road roommates overcame the stifling desert heat to shoot 6-under 66s Thursday, sharing the first-round lead at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Sandra Gal and Mika Miyazato were one shot back, while world No. 1 Yani Tseng was in a group in 10th place at 2 under.

Despite playing in the hotter part of an unseasonably scorching day, Lincicome and Lewis handled the fast, dry Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills with similar aplomb after temperatures topped 90 degrees by midday in the Palm Springs area. Their caddies were given permission to take off their jumpsuits when it rose above 100 during the afternoon rounds.

Although they aren’t rooming together this week because their parents made the trip, they went to dinner together Wednesday night and chatted with Rosie Jones before making identically excellent starts.

“Stacy has been a great friend for a little while now,” Lincicome said. “If we don’t want our fathers or mothers to go to a tournament, we’ll stay together, but she’s just a really nice girl. We’re kind of the same age, very low-maintenance for both of us, so it’s very easy-going.”

Lincicome’s win at the 2009 Kraft Nabisco Championship is the three-time tour winner’s only victory in nearly four years, while Lewis is still looking for her first official win on tour. Lincicome is off to a remarakbly consistent start this season, while Lewis is hoping to harness her increased strength for better results.

The heat is supposed to break on the weekend, but Lincicome and Lewis both worried about the damage.

“Being a course that I love and I love to play, I’d hate for them to lose the greens,” Lincicome said. “Especially No. 1, and there was one other green turning brown, even — or purple, which can’t be good.”

Lewis made three straight birdies on the back nine immediately after her only bogey, hitting consecutive exceptional iron shots.

Lewis has significantly improved her distance over the past year, adding 25 yards to her drives with help from strength training and swing coaching. After bouncing back from surgery to correct her scoliosis during college, Lewis is hoping her play can be an inspiration to others with spinal woes, including a group of young girls she visited during the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup in Phoenix two weeks ago.

“I really don’t mind the heat at all,” Lewis said. “I’d rather have hot and humid heat than dry heat, but I grew up in Texas during the summers, so I’m used to playing when it’s over 100 degrees. I say bring it, because the ball goes a mile, so I like it.”

Gal chipped in from 15 yards on her fourth hole and hung on for another solid opening round with strong putting. The lanky German earned her first career victory at last week’s Kia Classic, played in chilly conditions outside Los Angeles.

“With your first win, you still don’t know what to expect coming into the next week,” Gal said. “All the people that came to me and all the congrats from everyone, which I really appreciate, it was a lot. So I probably didn’t prepare as well as I would for a major championship normally.”

Karrie Webb shot a 69, while Morgan Pressel joined Tseng at 70. Tseng was partnered with Gal.

“So hot today,” Tseng said. There’s no wind. I had an umbrella out there.”

Michelle Wie felt grateful to escape with an opening-round 74, making three bogeys in her quest for her first major title.

“It could have been a lot worse,” Wie said. “I did a lot of damage control today, so hopefully tomorrow I’ll do a lot better.”

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Sandra Gal takes win at Kia Classic to become the second German winner in LPGA Tour history

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Sandra Gal

Sandra Gal

Sandra Gal won the Kia Classic on Sunday to become the second German winner in LPGA Tour history, beating second-ranked Jiyai Shin with a 2-foot birdie putt on the final hole.

The 25-year-old Gal, a former University of Florida player, made the winning putt after Shin’s 5-foot birdie attempt caught the right edge and spun out.

“It was big pressure, she was so close to the hole,” Shin said. “I was thinking I had to make it.”

Gal closed with a 2-under 71 to finish at 16-under 276 on the Industry Hills Golf Club course at Pacific Palms. She set up the winning birdie with a sand wedge shot from 83 yards on the par-5 18th.

“I was trying to hole it,” Gal said. “I came close. I thought I made it.”

Tina Fischer is the only other Germany champion. She won the 2001 Asahi Ryokuken International.

“I had the belief coming out this morning that I could win,” Gal said. “I thought I could do it. I just tried to play the course instead of Jiyai.”

Shin, an eight-time winner on the LPGA Tour, finished with a 73.

Cristie Kerr shot a 66 to tie for third with In-kyung Kim (70) at 11 under.

Top-ranked Yani Tseng (67) and Na Yeon Choi (73) were 9 under, and Michelle Wie (70) was another stroke back along with Marcy Hart (65) and Mindy Kim (71).

“I felt like I shot a lot better than what I scored,” Wie said. “Overall, I had a lot of fun. I played as hard as I can.”

Shin took a one-stroke lead over Gal into the final round, but dropped two strokes back with three bogeys on the front nine. The South Korean star pulled even on the par-3 13th, making a birdie while Gal had her lone bogey of the day.

“My putter was not working good,” Shin said. “I had a lot of chances for birdies but didn’t make them.”

Shin took a one-stroke lead with a birdie on the par-3 15th, and Gal countered with a birdie on the par-4 16th to set up the finish. On 18, Gal’s wedge shot hit past the hole and spun back, nearly going in the hole.

“I was digging really deep,” Gal said.

Gal earned $255,000 in the tournament, the tour’s first event in the Los Angeles area in six years.

The Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first major of the season, is next week at Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage.

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Jiyai Shin shoots bogey free 64 to lead Kia Classic by four shots

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Jiyai Shin

Jiyai Shin

Second-ranked Jiyai Shin shot a bogey-free 9-under 64, birdieing nine of the first 14 holes, to take a four-stroke lead Friday in the rain-delayed Kia Classic.

“I jumped on the birdie bus,” Shin said.

The South Korean star, an eight-time winner on the LPGA Tour, had a 12-under 134 total on the Industry Hills Golf Club course at Pacific Palms. Seventy-two players, all of the afternoon starters, were unable to finish the round after rain delayed the start three hours.

“I think I’m really lucky to finish,” Shin said. “I played very well, so I’ll take a good rest.”

Germany’s Sandra Gal was second at 8 under with nine holes left when play was suspended for the day because of darkness. Amanda Blumenherst, the first-round leader, and Chella Choi were third at 6 under. Blumenherst had nine holes remaining, while Choi shot a 68.

“Because of the rain delay this morning, I was a little tired,” Choi said. “But it actually gave me more time to prepare and warm up, and things went well from there.”

Michelle Wie, returning to the tour after finishing finals at Stanford, followed an opening 68 with a 75 to drop nine strokes behind Shin at 3 under. Wie bogeyed three of her final four holes.

“Just kind of didn’t get a couple of holes going,” Wie said. “Just kind of mis-hit a couple of shots and missed a couple putts and I guess that’s the difference it makes. … You have to be on the right side of the fairway, because there are trees blocking out half of the green, so it’s really about management.”

Shin, trying to regain the top spot in the world from Yani Tseng, missed only one fairway and one green in regulation and finished with 25 putts. She made four birdie putts from 12 feet or longer.

“My goal was 3 under par, so I just kept thinking before the round to make a couple birdies and no bogeys,” Shin said. “I just kept focused for my shot. It was really easy, simple play.”

Blumenherst, a stroke ahead of Gal after the first round, was four shots behind when she started the second round late in the afternoon.

“I was not watching at all,” Blumenherst said. “I had no idea of what was going on. It’s just part of the game.”

Tseng, the winner of the season-opening Honda LPGA Thailand and three other worldwide events this year, was 2 under for the tournament with five holes left. Karrie Webb, coming off her second straight victory Sunday in Phoenix, was 2 over — also with five holes remaining in the round.

The tournament is the tour’s first in the Los Angeles area in six years. Last year at La Costa in Carlsbad, Hee Kyung Seo won her first LPGA Tour title, beating Inbee Park by six strokes. Seo was in position to miss the cut following rounds of 77 and 73.

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Tseng wins over Michelle Wie in Thailand

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Yani Tseng wins in Thailand

Yani Tseng wins in Thailand

Top-ranked Yani Tseng earned her third tournament win in three weeks Sunday, shooting a 6-under 66 to pull away for a comfortable five-shot victory over Michelle Wie in the Honda LPGA Thailand. The event served as the season opener on the 2011 LPGA Tour calendar.

Tseng led by one stroke over Wie and In-kyung Kim going into the final round and had the lowest score of the day with seven birdies and one bogey to finish at 15-under 273.

2011 HONDA LPGA THAILAND

The Honda LPGA Thailand is the season-opener on the 2011 LPGA Tour calendar.

Wie settled for a 70 to finish second, while Kim had a 71 was another stroke back in a tie for third with Karrie Webb, who shot a 69. Paula Creamer was fifth at 8 under after a 71.

Tseng took over the No. 1 ranking after winning back-to-back Ladies European Tour events, the Women’s Australian Open two weeks ago and then the Australian Ladies Masters last weekend.

“I just tried my best and I know I had lots of confidence,” Tseng said about winning three weeks in a row. “But with all the great golfers out here, you never know until the last putt drops in.”

Kim birdied three of her first six holes to sit tied for the lead with Tseng, and was at 13 under after a birdie on the 13th. However, she made a quintuple bogey on the 17th to fall out of contention before finishing with a birdie to secure a tie for third.

Wie also put pressure on Tseng by chipping in for a birdie on the first hole and picking up two more shots on the sixth and seventh. But she didn’t make another birdie the rest of the way and was four shots behind Tseng when she bogeyed the 17th.

“I feel like I played good out there today, but on the back nine I just didn’t make anything,” Wie said. “Yani played fantastic. She played like a rock star out there. She made every single putt and zero mistakes. Congrats to her.”

Tseng will go for a fourth straight victory next week in Singapore.

“I have lots of confidence and I’m looking forward to next week to see if I can win,” she said. “I feel very excited every week. I just focused on this week. I think to myself, ‘Last week has passed, don’t put pressure on this week.’ Next week is a new week and I’ll enjoy it.”

AUSTRALIA’S SMITH WINS IN NEW ZEALAND: Also Sunday, Australia’s Kristie Smith shot a 4-under 68 to overtake Italy’s Giulia Sergas and win the New Zealand Women’s Open.

Smith finished with a 72-hole total of 12-under-par 276 to claim her first title on the Ladies European Tour. Smith, a former Australian amateur champion, turned professional in 2009 and won her first title last year on the Australian LPGA Tour.

“I am over the moon,” she said. “My goal this year was to win on the LET Tour and it’s nice to do it early. I think I will have to reassess my goals. They had been to finish in the top five on the LET money list and play well in the majors.”

Sergas, penalized a stroke after Saturday’s round for slow play, entered the final round with a four-stroke lead, but the Italian had two bogeys and a triple bogey on her first three holes to finish with a 76.

Sergas shared second place with American Tiffany Joh, a graduate student at UCLA who shot a 70 to move up five places in the final round Sunday.

Defending champion Laura Davies briefly led the standings Sunday before dropping back with a triple bogey on the fourth hole. She finished with a 77 and was eight strokes behind the winner.

Sergas entered the final round with a four-stroke lead, but had two bogeys and a triple bogey on her first three holes Sunday and shot a 76.

Sergas and American Tiffany Joh, a UCLA graduate student, tied for second. Joh posted a 2-under 70 in the final round.

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Lorena Ochoa will play in the Mayakoba Golf Classic is announced

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Lorena Ochoa

Lorena Ochoa

Lorena Ochoa, Mexico’s most successful and decorated professional golfer, will participate in the Mayakoba Golf Classic’s Wednesday pro-am when Mexico’s only PGA TOUR event celebrates its fifth anniversary February 23-27, 2011.

This marks the first time Ochoa will visit the Mayakoba Golf Classic. While her exact tee time is yet to be determined, the four-time LPGA Player of the Year will play Wednesday morning, February 23 at El Camaleón Golf Club.

“This is a great honor to have Lorena join us for this special fifth year celebration,” says Mayakoba Golf Classic Tournament Director Larson Segerdahl. “Not only does she represent the very best in the game of golf but she represents the very best of Mexico and shares our passion for growing the game of golf.”

While the Wednesday Mayakoba Golf Classic Pro-Am is traditionally not open to the public, tournament officials are allowing those who purchase tournament day tickets (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday) to attend this year’s Pro-Am. Also, fans who have not purchased these daily tickets by February 23 can do so at the gate on Wednesday.

“I am so excited to finally be able to be part of this event,” says Ochoa. “I have heard so many great things about it that I cannot wait longer to be there. Besides this, El Camaleon at Mayakoba is one of my favorite courses in México.”

Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased by visiting the tournament web sitehttp://www.mayakobagolfclassic.com/ or by calling +52 (984) 877-2380 in Mexico. Local residents can purchase tickets at the Mayakoba Golf Classic tournament office located adjacent to the El Camaleón clubhouse.

Ochoa retired from the LPGA on April 23, 2010 after holding the No.1 spot in the LPGA Rankings as the best player in the world for three consecutive years. In her eight years on the LPGA Tour, she won 27 times and was among the top three 63 times. She finished among the top 10 an incredible 108 times in the 172 tournaments in which she competed. She was also a collegiate standout at the University of Arizona, where she won a record seven consecutive tournaments.

In November of last year, Ochoa and Greg Norman, who designed El Camaleón Golf Club, announced a partnership to jointly design championship and resort golf courses worldwide. To start this historic partnership, the two golf superstars have contacted the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in hopes of being selected to co-design the golf course that will host the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

In its first four years, the Mayakoba Golf Classic has donated nearly $1 million in an effort to give back to the community through various philanthropic organizations and charitable groups as well as promote the game of golf within the Cancun and Riviera Maya regions. Organizations receiving charitable contributions from the Mayakoba Golf Classic include Golf PARa Todos, the American Junior Golf Association, Centro Equinoterapia, Centro Integracion Juvenil, CINDAQ, City of Joy Foundation (Ciudad de la Alegria), Red Cross of Playa del Carmen, DIF, Flora Fauna y Cultura de Mexico, the Lorena Ochoa Foundation, Malix-Pek Pet Shelter, Rotary Clubs of Playa del Carmen, Cancun and Tulum, Un Hogar Con Amor and more.

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18 Quick summaries of the PGA Tour

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Ben Crane

Ben Crane

1. Got the Monday blues? Q-18 to the rescue with the latest Ben Crane-ium video. Who knew the guy could be funnier than he was in last year’s workout video? His new pre-round video is a serious must to start the week. Crane, complete with helmet, laying face down in a bunker to receive information? Investigating a water hazard? As Q-18 watched and listened — “I have sensors in my hands and I’m constantly receiving vibrations from the course’s crust” — we couldn’t help but think of the day in 1981 that Gary McCord led the then-Michelob Houston Open and announced that “By Product 17 from the planet Blothar” had entered his body as an experiment to see what it feels like to lead a golf tournament. Pretty hysterical moment in press room history. Crane takes it up another notch here. We leave you with this Craneium-ism “I have found silence. What is disturbing your silence?”

2. And you thought there weren’t any ties in golf. This week’s Official World Golf Ranking includes two ties — Graeme McDowell and Phil Mickelson share the fourth spot; Ernie Els and Ian Poulter share No. 10.

3. The latest player to join the rich golf tradition at Oklahoma State? All-conference quarterback — and soon to be three-ball wizard — Brandon Weeden. The former professional baseball player — he’s 27 — plans to come back to OSU for his senior season and he’ll tune up as a walk-on on the OSU golf team. He announced his football decision in a press conference, then tweeted — @bweeden3: I forgot to mention I’m also the newest member of the OSU golf team!!!! Proud to be part of something special! Football and Golf!!!! The players have impressed by his swing, but … “They like his game,” golf coach Mike McGraw told The Oklahoman. “Now am I saying he’s going to lead us to a national championship? Probably not.”

4. Sony Open winner Mark Wilson — how impressive was a 36-hole Sunday with no bogeys? — is in the Masters. Did you know though, it will be just the fourth major of his career? The three-time TOUR winner missed the cut at the 1998 U.S. Open and the 2007 and 2009 PGA Championships. Got a feeling the fourth time will be the charm. Another reason for Wilson to smile? His Green Bay Packers — he’s a serious fan — beat Atlanta.

5. Two TOUR events, two U.S. winners. Two victories for quiet, solid players who are, well, 5-foot-8-ish. Two wins for the ACC. Yep. Jonathan Byrd went to Clemson; Wilson to North Carolina.

6. Anyone else wondering if Harrington will still have his beard in Abu Dhabi? He’s shaking everything else up, so why not? According to IrishGolfDesk.com, the inveterate tinkerer has, among other things, changed the grips on his clubs, flattened all his clubs by a degree of loft, weakened his grip, changed his trigger for takeaway which means a smaller hip turn and bigger coil, changed his chin position at the top of his backswing and tweaked his putting routine. Whew. And we didn’t go into detail. Paddy wouldn’t be Paddy without a few, eh, changes.

7. Notice anything different about Steve Marino? According to the Golf Channel, he’s gone healthy and lost about 15 pounds. How has he not won yet? We might not be asking that question for very long.

8. One of the fun new faces this year? Nate Smith got our attention for a couple of reasons. First, he went surfing and jumped off a 20-foot cliff with a spear during the rainout and found himself one shot off the lead after round one. He was pretty entertaining with a pair of rookie diaries, too. Tough final round, but he jumped onto Q-18’s radar. Not tweeting … yet.

9. Rainouts are just part of professional golf. No one likes them, but until they find a way to dome a golf course, they’re part of life. Golfers take them in stide. The media? Not as much. Best weather-tweet from all the rain came from veteran @StuartAppleby: No waves just flat seas and that’s the course.

10. A blessing in disguise? Whether you agree with LPGA commissioner Michael Whan’s decision to deny Lexi Thompson’s petition or not, bottom line is the 15-year-old will still have a chance to make an impact in 2011. The LPGA will now allow non-LPGA players to Monday qualify, which means Thompson can add those to her six sponsors exemptions. She’s also in the field at the U.S. Women’s Open and Evian Masters.

11. Be honest. Did you really know what a tweet was two years ago? Twitter king Stewart Cink got Q-18 into tweeting at the 2009 PLAYERS Championship — the ground floor as it turns out — and now it’s the place to go to find out what’s happening. Like the Cink’s pre-Hope tweet: @stewartcink: First tournament of the year and my golf travel bag weighs in at 78.2 lbs. Belated New Years resolution: shed a few pounds this year.

12. In case you’re wondering, Cink leads the tweeple list with 1,201,850 followers. Poults is second with 1,090,109.

12. Golf, welcome to social media. And trumors — some truth, some rumor. Does it really matter who Dustin Johnson or McIlroy is dating? No one ever said life in the spotlight would be easy.

13. Bold-faced entertainment and athletic stars like Kurt Russell, Alice Cooper, Julius Erving, Bo Jackson and Sugar Ray Leonard will be sharing the spotlight at the Bob Hope Classic, the only five-round event on the PGA TOUR, this week. Meanwhile, the European Tour’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be played in the other desert with G-Mac, Mickelson, Poulter, Martin Kaymer, Louis Oosthuizen , Padraig Harrington, Rory McIlroy and world No. 1 Lee Westwood competing.

14. Been a while since we checked in with @bovanpelt, who shared this out-of-the-mouth-of-kids tweet: My 9 yr old says “dad, don’t ever lose your tour card” I ask why and she she says” because Hawaii is awesome and I want to keep coming back!

15. The drug cartel violence in Mexico has the LPGA folks rethinking April’s Tres Marias which is about 180 miles west of Mexico City. Roads from the airport to the hotel and event have been impacted by the violence and the LPGA security folks will be looking at the event and options. Whan has told players to hold off making reservations.

16. Rush Limbaugh on what surprised him about doing The Hank Haney Project: “How serious it was — part of it was like a boot camp.”

17. What does a caddie do in his spare time? Mickelson’s caddie Jim ”Bones” Mackay lugged camera gear on the sidelines at the BCS Championship game between Auburn and Oregon for Sports Illustrated photographer Robert Beck.

18. Finally, from the only-in-Hollywood-would-you-hear-this file, Cameron Diaz, who played a bit of golf in “Something About Mary” told starpulse.com she’s so obsessed with game — she plays barefoot — she had to take a break. “I hadn’t golfed for, like, three years until recently … because it’s kind of like crack cocaine to me.”

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LPGA denies Alexis Thompson additonal exemptions announced

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Alexis Thompson

Alexis Thompson

The LPGA Tour has denied the request of 15-year-old Alexis Thompson to double the amount of exemptions she is allowed. But under a change in open qualifying, the teenager can earn her way into more tournaments.

Thompson has asked for a limited membership that would allow her to take as many as 12 sponsor exemptions instead of six.

In denying the request, LPGA Tour Commissioner Mike Whan said Thompson would be able to pursue additional playing opportunities by trying to qualify on Monday. Until this year, only LPGA Tour members were allowed to Monday qualify.

Thompson, who turns 16 next month, earned the equivalent of 34th on the LPGA Tour money list last year. Her best finish was second place at the Evian Masters.

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Why Brittany Lincicome is playing the mens mini-tour?

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Brittany Lincicome plays men's mini-tour

Brittany Lincicome plays men's mini-tour

Brittany Lincicome will play in a men’s tournament next week as part of her preparations for the LPGA Tour season.

The long-hitting Lincicome, a three-time winner on the LPGA Tour, has entered the NGA Hooters Tour’s Bridgestone Winter Series event at Deer Island Golf Club.

She will be the first current LPGA Tour player to play in a Winter Series tournament.

“(The LPGA Tour) finished in December, and I need to keep playing to get ready for next season,” Lincicome said Friday. “This will be my seventh year on the LPGA Tour and I still get nervous when I tee off (in the LPGA season-opening event) in Thailand. This tournament is close to home and has a lot of competition in it. I think it’s a great way for me to get some of the nerves out before our season starts.”

The event will be her second straight against an all-male field. Earlier this month, she played in an event on the minor-league Moonlight Tour in Windermere, Fla. Playing from the back tees, Lincicome carded a 1-under 71 to finish third, five shots behind the winner, and earned $115. She also played in a Moonlight Tour event last spring, finishing 18th in that one.

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Will his dream of the PGA come true?

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Jae-moon

Jae-moon

There is a 17 year-old teenager who feels that golf is his savour, something that is not normally found in someone his age.

Because of his excess weight, Eom Jae-moon was encouraged to enroll in the local gym where he discovered that they had an indoor driving range. It was not long before his mother was begging him to come home. He had lost all the weight that he needed to and in the process, had discovered a sport that he not only excelled in, but also fell in love with.

Like anyone his age, he was not very happy about the alarm clock going off at 6 am, as well as the hour long bus ride he had to take to the academy. This feeling would fade quickly after he had the feel of a golf club in his hands.

“I like the pressure of tournament golf, not knowing if you’re going to win or lose; it’s a rush,” said Jae-moon, who has

won one amateur tournament here.

His practice regiment would rival that of a professional, sometimes reaching up to 15 hours a day and hitting over 900 golf balls. All this under the watchful eye of a personal coach. Eom was living and breathing the sport, to the exclusion of all other things. This included his school work subjects like science and history. Other than practicing, his only other endeavors was practicing his English on the daily commute to and from the academy.

It would seem that his mother, Kim Han-mi is fully committed to his practicing. With the drive of a drill instructor, she has challenged her son towards a possible future on the PGA Tour.

“If he doesn’t do well at a tournament, I yell at him,” she said. “If he loses focus and blows chances for birdies, I get

upset.”

It has been more than a decade that South Korean golfers gained prominence on the internation scene. Jae-moon’s efforts is a good illustration of the national pride that is shown for the success stories over the years, however, it also shows the countries increased mania for golf.

South Korean is a nation that intent on success, which can be attested by the thousands of young golfers who learn a quick lesson. It is not simply acceptable for them to just play the game of golf, they are expected to be very proficient in the game, as well as turn professional and win tournaments and make their families proad. If you were to see how close these youths are managed, you would think that they were practicing for the Olympics, such as gymnastics or figure skating. The never ending practice with the hope of gold as a reward.

“I always tell my son, ‘We have to do more,’ ” Jae-moon’s mother said.

The professional golf popularity soared in momentum in 1998 when Se Ri-pak, an ex-shot putter entered the LPGA and captured both the LPGA Championship and the U.S. Open Championship. This would be the first female rookie from South Korea to accomplish this feat and since that time, there have been more than a half dozen South Korean’s that have won majors in women’s professional golf.

Out of the 123 international players on the LPGA Tour, there are up to 43 South Korean’s that are expected to compete.

Korean players have accounted for five of the top 10 money winners, which also included Korean American Michelle Wie. Although the men have not enjoyed as much success, they are able to savour the defeat of Tiger Woods by Yang Yong-eun, who won the 2009 PGA Championship.

In the 251 courses available nationwide, there are approxiamtely 4 million South Koreans playing golf on them today. When you look at the comparison, there are 2,500 courses in Japan and currently 18,000 courses in the U.S.

Although Jae-moon does not attend any classrooms, he arrives at school each day at 9 a.m. Due to a largely unregulated industry, the golf academy will decide how many, if any, academic subjects that the students will be offered.

With such a high  number of people to golf courses, the greens fee for these courses are incredibly high, Jae-moon is limited to only three 9-hole rounds on an actual golf course. This leaves the rest of his time spent in in the vast center, which includes sand traps, driving ranges and putting greens.

For all of his efforts, Jae-moon gets home at midnight or later most nights. He gets to act like a teenager with his friends maybe one night a week, usually Sunday. Such is the life this young man has put in to reach his dream. There just does not seem to be enought time for everything.

He has been the rebellious teen only once and that was when he had gotten his ear pierced. It wasn’t that his mother didn’t like it, she didn’t. But he removed it when his coach had frowned on such embellishments.

If you think his coaches can be tough on him, you would be right, but not as tough as his mother. Jae-moon’s mother nearly ended his career. It was not for the earing or the lack of her son’s well rounded life. It was because he missed a birdie putt. Tough lady.

“I gave him hell. I told him we’d send him abroad to study,” she said. “If he was destined to play golf, he’d make more

birdies. It wasn’t an easy decision for me. We fought. He cried. He kept playing golf.”

All the work Jae-moon has put into his craft will soon have him leave for a month to Thailand where the warmer weather and the luxury of playing on an actual course will allow for a more real-world golf experience, under the watchful eyes of his coach. He an hardly wait to go.

“Just knowing that I’m going to play golf makes me happy,” he said. “I walk on the grass at the course and I feel good.”

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Honour bestowed on Northern Illinois University Women’s golf coach

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PamTyska

Pam Tyska

Northern Illinois University Women’s golf coach Pam Tyska, was named the Kids Golf Foundation of Illinois Site Coordinator of the Year for her golf efforts in the total evolution of the program. Tyska, an LPGA and PGA golf professional, Hinsdale native and 1979 graduate of Hinsdale Central, has been working with the foundation bringing foundation programs into the community for 10 years and organizing DeKalb junior golf for 25 years. This school year, the Huskies and the foundation hope to touch even more children from Littlejohn and Jefferson elementary schools in kindergarten to fifth grades, through golf. Junior golfer, Katie Kuhn of Clarendon Hills, a Hinsdale Central student, took a lead role in mentoring the children through the game she loves.

Montini adopts 27 families

Montini Catholic High School has been participating in the Joliet Diocesan Catholic Charities Adopt-a-Family Program for many years. This year, Montini Catholic High School adopted 27 families to give presents, food and joy this Christmas. The student-activities that brought in the food and presents for these families began right after Thanksgiving. The school’s annual Thanksgiving food drive, The Golden Gobbler, brought in a lot of canned goods for these families and other charities. After receiving the 27 families from the Catholic Charities, including their Christmas Wish List, Montini Catholic divided the families up by the homeroom classes. Students collected money to purchase their wish list items, which often included toys, clothing, food, gift certificates, and baby clothing. Montini always includes a frozen turkey for that warm Christmas dinner.

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