Tue, Nov 13, 2007 - Page 19 News List

Creamer wins Tournament of Champions

AFP , MOBILE, ALABAMA

Paula Creamer of the US holds up her trophy after winning the LPGA Tournament of Champions at Magnolia Grove Golf Course in Mobile, Alabama, on Sunday.

PHOTO: AFP

Paula Creamer completed a wire-to-wire victory at the LPGA Tournament of Champions in Alabama on Sunday, firing a four-under par 68 in the final round to beat Korean runner-up Birdie Kim by eight strokes.

Creamer finished on 20-under par 268 after making a bogey on the final hole, her first in 62 holes, that prevented her from matching the 72-hole tournament record of 267 set last year by Mexican world No. 1 Lorena Ochoa.

"I wanted to break the record. It definitely was a goal of mine," Creamer said. "It is kind of a bummer that I didn't get it. But at the same time I will take it. It's a win. That's a little bit more important maybe."

It was Creamer's fourth career LPGA victory and her first triumph since this year's opener in February at Hawaii.

"I feel good. I played good. I gave myself a lot of chances. I stayed really confident with myself, and I believed I could do it," Creamer said.

The American captured the US$150,000 top prize at the US$1 million event featuring winners from the past four years, boosting her confidence ahead of next week's Tour Championship.

"I feel really confident and I would love to take this momentum into next week," Creamer said.

Creamer, who led by six strokes when the day began, did not suffer a bogey after the ninth hole on Thursday until the 72nd hole, going two-over on her first nine holes before playing the next 62 without a bogey, an LPGA season-best run.

"I was a little nervous going in with a six-shot lead. You never know what's going to happen," Creamer said.

Creamer opened with a birdie to ease some of her worries.

"That was very important," Creamer said. "That birdie on the first hole, that's always a very nice feeling. It's a statement that I'm ready, I'm going to play good, you are going to have to go really low today to beat me."

Kim also fired a 68 to take second on 276, two strokes ahead of Americans Natalie Gulbis and Pat Hurst and Sweden's Annika Sorenstam.

Kim, who will marry South Korean golfer Lee Bai-kyu on December 15, eagled the fourth and added three birdies on the back nine for her best finish since winning the 2005 US Women's Open.

"I just tried to finish well and do my best," Kim said. "This year I worked a little more on my swing and focused more on my short game. I think I got a lot better."

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