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March 30 2011

8:34 PM

Kim ready to defend Shell title

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Anthony Kim is returning this week to the site of his last win on the PGA TOUR.

By Melanie Hauser, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent

HUMBLE, Texas -- To this day, Anthony Kim has no clue how he won last year’s Shell Houston Open.

Yes, he beat Vaughn Taylor in a playoff. But how he got there in the first place? Still a mystery.

After all, he had a bum thumb and hit just 30 percent of his fairways.

“I don't know how it happened,’’ Kim said, drawing a laugh. “I did a lot of praying before I went to bed at night, obviously. But it was just a culmination of good putting and a great attitude that helped me win last year, and I'm going the try to come in with the same attitude and hopefully hit some better golf shots. And who knows, I could play better this year and score worse.  It's a funny and fickle game. I'm going to go out there with the same attitude.’’

And an invigorated -- for lack of a better word -- game.

He’s worked hard during a five-day stretch in Dallas last week with coach Adam Schrieber and changed a few things.

“I told him when he first got to Dallas I don't want to work and put Band-Aids on my swing,’’ Kim said. “I want to get down to my grip, to my posture, to everything that any beginning golfer would start with. I think that really helped get me back in the mindset of playing golf again and enjoying being out there instead of just trying to put Band-Aids on hooks and try to hit big slices to keep it in the fairway.

“ …Yesterday hitting the golf ball, golf became fun again. I felt like I was 11, enjoyed being out there, and hopefully it will show this week.’’

Kim admits he’s grown up. And he needed to. He’s more even-keel on the course now and it shows.

“It's been tough,’’ he said. “I've had a good attitude as far as not having any temper tantrums or getting frustrated outwardly where other people can see. But obviously inside I'm a competitor and I want to win and I want to give myself chances to win, so I do get frustrated. It's hard hitting golf shot after golf shot and not know where it's going. This is a new week.’’

Kim has just one top-10 this season -- a T6 at the Farmers Insurance Open -- but he’s ready to play catch up with the rest of the young guns on the PGA TOUR.

“Well, I mean, I guess by age we are younger, but I don't read too much into it,’’ he said. “I try to stay away from reading about myself unless it's really, really negative buzz that fires me up. I just -- I'm worried about getting better ever year. I'm out here, and unfortunately I've had a lot of highs and a lot of lows. But I'm trying to grow through those times. I'm trying to build on certain things that when my game does get in a bad position that I can grow from that and when I come back, I can be a better player from it.

“I think this injury long-term will help me. My short game, my course management has gotten a lot better. When my long game comes back like I know that it can, I'll be a more complete player.’’

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