U.S. Women's Open champion Birdie Kim played her way into the HSBC Women's World Match Championship with her dramatic victory at Cherry Hills, taking the final spot away from Brittany Lincicome.
The final place in the 64-woman field was reserved for the U.S. Women's Open winner if she had not already qualified. The first 60 spots were set June 19 from the LPGA Tour money list, with Kim failing to qualify at 66th. Lincicome, 61st after the Rochester LPGA, would have received the last spot if a qualifier won at Cherry Hills.
Kim, the 23-year-old South Korean who changed her first name from Ju Yun so she would stand out from the other tour players with the surname Kim, holed out from a bunker on the final hole to beat 17-year-old Morgan Pressel by two strokes.
The match-play pairings will be announced today, with money leader Annika Sorenstam the top seed in the inaugural tournament at Hamilton Farm Golf Club in Gladstone, N.J.
Japan's Ai Miyazato secured a spot last month by topping the Japan LPGA money list, and slumping South Korean star Se Ri Pak and Japanese amateur Shinobu Moromizato received sponsor invitations. Michelle Wie was not eligible to receive a sponsor exemption because she had already accepted the maximum number allowed by the LPGA Tour.
The winner will earn $500,000 in the $2 million tournament that starts Thursday. The semifinals and final will be on Sunday.
* HORSE RACING: Jockey Stewart Elliott, who nearly won the Triple Crown aboard Smarty Jones in 2004, will have his deportation case moved from Philadelphia to Newark.
Elliott, who was born in Toronto, is facing deportation because of a 2001 guilty plea to aggravated assault. He sought the switch to New Jersey because of a recent move from Pennsylvania to Hunterdon County, N.J., said his attorney, Supti Bhattacharya.
A 1996 immigration-reform law allows the government to seek to deport legal aliens convicted of an aggravated felony. Elliott was arrested in March at Philadelphia International Airport.
He served a year's probation and paid $13,000 toward the victim's medical bills after a fight in Burlington County, N.J.
* HIGH SCHOOLS: DeMatha forward Jeff Allen has unofficially committed to play basketball for Virginia Tech, Stags Coach Mike Jones said. Allen, a 6-foot-7 rising senior, averaged 11 points and 13 rebounds for the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference champion last winter. Allen's decision comes a month after his teammate and close friend, Nigel Munson, also committed to the Hokies.
* SWIMMING: Olympic champion Michael Phelps finished third in the 100-meter freestyle at the Santa Clara Grand Prix on Sunday.
Phelps finished in 50.15 seconds, behind winner Jason Lezak (49.54) and Brent Hayden (49.94).
The Santa Clara Grand Prix is among several warmup events for the world championships in Montreal next month.
-- From News Services
and Staff Reports