Tue, Oct 07, 2008 - Page 20 News List

Paula Creamer keeps her composure to take the spoils

AFP , HALF MOON BAY, CALIFORNIA

Paula Creamer poses with the trophy on the 18th hole after winning the Samsung World Championship at the Half Moon Bay Golf Links Ocean Course in Half Moon Bay, California, on Sunday.

PHOTO: AFP

Paula Creamer kept her composure when it counted and came away with a victory in the elite LPGA Samsung World Championship.

Creamer drained a long birdie putt at the 15th to regain the lead and held on for a one-stroke victory in the US$1 million tournament.

It was the fourth victory of the year and eighth career win for the 22-year-old Californian, who finished with a three-under 69 for a nine-under total of 279.

“That is big win for myself,” Creamer said. “I put so much pressure on myself every time I come here and to finally have one, it feels really good. I’m very excited.”

Creamer carried a one-stroke lead into the final round. However, that advantage evaporated on the back nine as South Korean Kim Song-hee birdied the 14th to pull even at eight-under.

As if losing the outright lead was not enough, two-time defending champion and world No.1 Lorena Ochoa and Hall of Famer Juli Inkster both notched a birdie on 16 to pull within a stroke, ratcheting up the pressure on the young Californian.

Norway’s Suzann Pettersen was also pressing, moving to seven-under with a birdie at 15.

Creamer, however, kept her focus. After her birdie at 15, she maintained her lead and even though she couldn’t polish off a birdie at 18, she did get a par putt to drop at the last to seal the victory.

Creamer admitted she found it hard to take a conservative approach at 18, but she did it.

“I had a one shot lead,” she said. “I probably would have hit a three-wood down there. You have to play it smart. It was hard to hit a four-iron. It was a smart way to do it. Unfortunately the putt, I hit a little too firm, but we two-putted.”

Creamer rolled her birdie attempt from 25 feet past the hole, but made the four-footer coming back.

“Honestly, I didn’t see it go in. All I heard was the people cheer for it,” she said. “It was the longest two seconds of my life having it roll into the hole.”

Creamer was especially pleased to have pulled herself together after a frustrating day on Friday, to capture the win in front of a crowd that included family and friends.

Kim, seeking her first win on the USLPGA Tour, posted a 68 for a 280 total and the runner-up spot — matching her career best finish in the US.

Kim had briefly seized a share of the lead when she chipped in for a birdie from 20 feet at 14. She admitted to some frustration at her inability to do more.

“Going in yesterday I didn’t have a great feel for my shots, so I was a little worried going into the round today,” Kim said. “I had some opportunities, but I wasn’t able to convert all of them, so I’m a little frustrated.”

Ochoa, the two-time defending champion who was trying to become the fourth player to win this event at least three times, ended up in a tie for third at 281 following a 69.

The Mexican star finished tied with Inkster (68), Pettersen (68) and American Angela Stanford (70).

Inkster was looking for her fourth win in the event, having claimed the last of her three titles in 2000.

Sweden’s Annika Sorenstam, a five-time winner, finished in 15th on three-over 291 after a final round of 70.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top