South Korea’s Kim Young defended her title at the US$1.5 million Corning Classic, with American Paula Creamer but failing to capture the crown that eluded her last year.
Kim fired four straight rounds in the 60s, including a season-low 64 in the second round, to beat Creamer and South Korean Kim Mi-hyun by three strokes and become the fifth first-time winner of last year.
“I’m ready for the tournament,” Kim said. “I’m going to play nothing different from last year, and I can hopefully win again.”
Kim said cooler weather meant conditions were much different from those of last year.
“It’s totally different from last year. Because last year it was a little firmer and warmer so my driver was longer than this year,” she said. “So I hit short iron wedge shot. But this year I play a lot shorter than last year. I hit middle or long iron for a second shot and the greens a little more soft and slow than last year, so, totally different.”
With both world No. 1 Lorena Ochoa and No 2 Annika Sorenstam absent, attention will be focused this week on Kim and on Creamer, who entered the final round tied for the lead with Kim and Beth Bader but settled for the runner-up spot.
“You always want to win,” Creamer said. “The way that things happened, unfortunately didn’t go my way in the last five or six holes. But you have to move on. It has made me who I am right now,” she said.
“And I think I can go out and I can play good golf. You never know if it’s going to be a birdie fest or if it’s going to play longer and more difficult. But I am really looking forward to being in contention on Sunday,” she said.
Since her disappointment here last year, Creamer has nabbed three titles, one last year and two this season.
Creamer said her approach wouldn’t be any different just because Ochoa and Sorenstam are missing from the field.
“Having Lorena and Annika makes it nice, having the best players in the world,” she said. “But at the same time, you have to win a golf tournament no matter what. You are in control of yourself and you are not in control of anybody else.”