Solheim Cup team members, on both sides, plentiful at Navistar Classic

christina kim
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Despite no top-10 finishes so far this season, U.S. Solheim Cup player Christina Kim says she has "all the confidence in the world" as she prepares for the Navistar Classic.
By
John Zenor
Associated Press

Series: LPGA Tour

Published: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 | 9:45 p.m.

Christina Kim isn't worried about building up her confidence for the Solheim Cup.

First things first: Kim and the other 11 U.S. team members are all trying to win the $1.3 million Navistar LPGA Classic starting Thursday at the 6,607-yard, par-72 Senator Course on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Capitol Hill.

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Then, it's off to Ireland's Killen Castle for Kim and her soon-to-be teammates to face Europe, which has six team members competing in suburban Montgomery.

"I've got all the confidence in the world," said Kim, who hasn't had a top-10 finish in 16 events this year. "I don't know what happens out there, the numbers don't add up. But I've got confidence. I ain't concerned about that. My game is actually in a very good place. I'm striking the ball very well. I'm starting to get some of my distance back. I was injured a little bit toward the end of last year and kind of played and fought through it.

"Obviously I would love to win this week. For me, it's just a matter of executing that perfect shot."

The event will have a prominent Solheim Cup presence.

Maria Hjorth, a European team member from Sweden, won the Avnet LPGA Classic a few hours south in Mobile during the spring and won in Prattville in 2007.

Hjorth said it would be nice to fly out of town with some momentum.

"This week is this week," she said. "You still have to focus on this week and go out there and play good golf. If you go out and play good golf, that's going to give you confidence going into next week and going into Solheim."

The American team members also include No. 2-ranked Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer and two-time 2011 winner Brittany Lincicome, along with Solheim Cup rookies Vicky Hurst, Stacy Lewis and Ryann O'Toole.

The Solheim Cup is contested every two years, alternating with the men's Ryder Cup. The golfers can take an unexpected week off afterward since the China Golf Association informed the LPGA Tour late Monday night that the Imperial Springs event scheduled for Sept. 29-Oct. 2 was off.

In Prattville, the player to beat remains top-ranked Yani Tseng. She is coming off her fifth title of the season at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, including major wins in the LPGA Championship and Ricoh Women's British Open.

"I've got lots of confidence right now, and I love this course," Tseng said.

Australian Katherine Hull won her second tour title at the Navistar LPGA Classic last year, with a one-stroke victory over Lincicome.

"I can play this golf course and never get bored with it because every hole is different and conditions change daily, so it's a fun course to play," Hull said.

All 18 greens have been resurfaced with Champion Ultra Dwarf grass since last year's event. The 681-yard, par-5 fifth hole was also re-designed, lowering the green and moving it slightly to make it more reachable.

The Senator Course has been closed for renovation on June 1.

"You can tell there's been a massive change to the golf course in terms of the grass they're using around the greens," Kim said. "I was told earlier in the week there hasn't been any play since June, which is a huge testament to the commitment that the people of the RTJ have with the LPGA Tour.

"It makes us feel like queens. The fairways are pristine, there hasn't been a pitch mark on the green. It's pretty remarkable. But it's hard. The greens are moving very, very fast. They're moving true."

Kim knows some things haven't changed about the tournament in college football country.

"It's going to be warm," she said. "And there's going to be a lot of Alabama fans. Roll Tide."