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Monday, November 17, 2014

The Limerick Summary: 2014 Lorena Ochoa Invitational

Winner: Christina Kim

Around the wider world of golf: Charley Hoffman won the OHL Classic at Mayakoba on the PGA Tour; Brooks Koepka broke through for his first ET win at the Turkish Airlines Open; Rashid Khan won the Chiangmai Golf Classic on the Asian Tour; Anthony Brown won the Mazda NSW Open on the Australasian Tour; Xi Yu Lin won the Sanya Ladies Open on the LET/LAGT/CGA; Cheng Jin won the Nine Dragons Open on the PGA TOUR China; and Jorge Fernandez-Valdes won the Hyundai BBVA 88 Abierto de Chile on the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica.

Christina with Lorena and trophy

Yes, yes, I know. When there's a PGA Tour event -- and especially when it's the last event of the year -- I always give it the Limerick Summary. It's just the way things work around here.

But when Sunday's tournaments were done, it was clear to me that the PGA Tour event was the least important event that took place. It wasn't the PGA Tour's fault or sponsor OHL's fault or even Mayakoba's fault. It's just the way things happen.

In fact, there were TWO events that I felt were more important (in the grand scheme of things, that is) than the OHL Classic. It was nice that Charley Hoffman finally made it back into the winner's circle for the first time in 4 years. But would that have a measurable effect on the future of the PGA Tour?

Sadly, I must answer "no."

Over in Turkey, Brooks Koepka finally broke through for his first win on a big tour... and let's be honest, Brooks is likely to become a major player on the world scene before long. This was a huge win -- he shot 65 to top Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson, and Miguel Angel Jimenez, which will likely win him the ET's Rookie of the Year award and leap him into the Top35 of the OWGR. That will put him in all the big events and allow him to continue playing both the ET and the PGA Tour. This event launched Victor Dubuisson into the stratosphere last season, and Brooks is playing well enough to do even better.

But since he stole all of the thunder from next week's Race to Dubai finish -- Rory locked up the title without even playing when Brooks won -- the ladies won this Limerick Summary by default.

Next week's CME Group Tour Championship just got very interesting, as Stacy Lewis didn't play all that well this week, which allowed Inbee Park to move a mere 3 points behind her in the POY race. If one of them wins next week, she'll win the title, the POY award, the $1mil CME Globe bonus, and perhaps even the scoring title.

And of course there was the Christina Kim story -- Christina, who hadn't won in 9 years; had dealt with injury and severe depression; and whose game had tanked so much that she wondered if she could get it back. She lost a 3-stroke lead on the back 9 to Shanshan Feng, who won just a month ago, but managed to hold it together enough to make a playoff... which she won on the second playoff hole. If you wrote this as a movie script, it would likely be rejected as an unbelievable story.

But if you had seen Christina screaming with delight, and then with her buddy Michelle Wie, holding each other and crying like babies on the 18th green, you'd agree...

The Lorena Ochoa was easily the most significant tournament this week, especially given Christina's popularity with the fans. It was yet another home run for the LPGA, a great human interest story, and the perfect setup for the final event of the LPGA's 2014 season.

And, therefore, the perfect candidate for a Limerick Summary. Welcome back to the Winner's Circle, Christina!
As Christina was blazing her trail,
She found Shanshan right there on her tail!
Did Kim flinch? Just a little…
But she managed to wiggle
It out. Did you not hear her yell?
The photo came from the photo page for the tournament at LPGA.com.

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