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Anthony Kim set for Quail Hollow defence

Anthony Kim returns to one of his happiest hunting grounds when he defends his maiden PGA Tour title at this week’s Quail Hollow Championship.

Since tying for seventh in his first appearance here in 2007, Kim has felt a close affinity with the event and his five-stroke victory 12 months ago set up the most successful season of his career.

“I’m very excited to be back,” the 23-year-old American told reporters on Tuesday. “It feels like home.

“I love it here. My rookie season I had eight top-10 finishes and this was one of them. Even though I finished third or second somewhere else I was happier about this one because of the field, because the golf course was so tough.

“The fans here are so different than most tournaments we play. They pulled so hard for me last year,” added Kim, who is up against a strong field this week including 2007 champion Tiger Woods.

Kim became the youngest winner on the PGA Tour in more than six years with his runaway victory last season and went on to clinch his second title at the AT&T National two months later.

“I put in quite a bit of work early last year and to see the benefit was tremendous for me growing as a player,” said the world number 13. “I think that’s the reason I won a few weeks later.

“It did give me that confidence boost I needed to keep playing well and keep believing I belong out here and I am one of the top players in the world.”

Seven of the world’s top 10 are in action at the Quail Hollow Club.

“There are not too many events where most of the top guys in the rankings are there,” Kim said. “To get that first win here and come back and have an opportunity to win again is amazing.

“Hopefully I can play some good golf but it’s going to be tough to top last year because it was my first (victory) and it’s been a dream of mine to play on the PGA Tour and win out here.

“It was pretty special,” added Kim.

Woods plays for the first time since tying for sixth at the U.S. Masters three weeks ago.

Also back in action is Argentina’s Angel Cabrera, who clinched his first Masters green jacket and second major title in a three-way playoff at Augusta.

Other leading players competing include world number two Phil Mickelson, third-ranked Spaniard Sergio Garcia and Australian Geoff Ogilvy (fourth).

The tournament starts on Thursday.


April 29, 2009

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