2011 has been by far the worst year of Christina Kim's LPGA career: not only did she miss the cut in every single major, she's managed to make the top 20 only twice in 17 starts, as well, and as a result has yet to cross the $100K barrier in winnings--a horrible drop-off for someone who's never failed to win less than $200K in her 9 seasons on tour and won less than $600K only 4 times before this season. Even though her driving accuracy (77.7%) is way up--even better than it was in 2004 and 2005, the only other times LPGA.com lists that she hit more than 70% of her fairways--her distance is way down and her putter has been letting her down all year.
Given all that, it was a welcome surprise that she accounted so well for herself in the Solheim Cup, but it was a much bigger shock that she won the Sicilian Ladies Open last week. Even though the tournament's small purse guaranteed that her 1st career LET win would move her up to only 31st on the tour's money list, it could mean that she's finally coming out of her year-long slump. The difference clearly was her putting, but she's shown flashes of brilliance before on the greens and been unable to sustain them. Still, beating Guilia Sergas by 4, Gwladys Nocera by 5, Louise Stahle by 6, Pernilla Lindberg by 7, Rebecca Hudson by 8, Becky Morgan by 9, Tania Elosegui and Linda Wessberg by 10, Trish Johnson by 11, Lee-Anne Pace by 12, and Laura Diaz, Belen Mozo, and top LETer Melissa Reid by 13 is a big deal. Let's see if she can sustain her momentum on Ya Ni Tseng's home turf a couple of weeks from now!
[Update 1 (10/12/11, 9:18 am): As Tony Jesselli pointed out in comments, Xtina did make it into the Malaysia field this week!]