Tue, Jul 13, 2010 - Page 19 News List

Creamer takes LPGA Open by four strokes

AFP , OAKMONT, PENNSYLVANIA

Paula Creamer, who played through the pain of a sore thumb, birdied two of her final five holes in the final round for a four-shot victory at the 65th US Women’s Open on Sunday.

Creamer fired a two-under 69 to earn her first major championship crown and ninth career LPGA Tour title with help from consecutive birdies on holes 14 and 15.

She played 23 holes on Sunday, entering the final round of the weather-hit event at the Oakmont Country Club with a three-shot lead before finishing at three-­under 281.

The 23-year-old Creamer, who underwent left thumb surgery in February, cruised to a four-shot victory over runners-up Suzann Pettersen of Norway and South Korea’s Na Yeon Choi. Pettersen and Choi finished at one-over 285.

Creamer is the second American to win the event in the past three years. Cristie Kerr captured the title in 2007.

“I was in pain, but I was trying to do everything to not think about it,” Creamer said of her still-healing thumb.

She finished with four birdies in the fourth round. Her approach out of the rough landed within 10ft of the cup on the par-four 14th. On the 15th, Creamer’s approach on the 442yd hole stopped just 4ft from the flag and she easily made the putt.

“Without a doubt, I’ve matured over the last couple of months,” Creamer said. “It was hard. I’ve prepared for this for the last three months and it makes everything so much better.”

This was just her fourth tournament since the operation which has forced her to make subtle changes in the way she hits the ball.

Creamer is the 12th first-time winner among the last 15 major championships and all nine of her LPGA wins came as she was leading heading into the final round.

South Korea’s In Kyung Kim shot a 68 and took fourth place at two-over-par 286.

Brittany Lang, the first-round leader with a 69, Amy Yang and former world No. 1 Jiyai Shin (68) tied for fifth at 286.

“A couple of days ago was the huge rain, so after that rain the green’s a little bit soft,” Shin said. “So we can hit, [take] aggressive shots at every hole.”

Creamer stayed poised as most of the contenders around her ­continued to fold.

However, Choi was the exception as she began the fourth round seven back before rallying with three birdies and a eagle on the front nine. She fell back with a bogey on No. 14 and then parred four of her final five holes.

Taiwanese player Yani Tseng was grouped tied on 290 with Alexis Thompson and Sakura Yokomine, after a 68, while compatriot Candie Kung shot a 69 to tie at 296 with Chie Arimura and Maria Hjorth.

Thompson, a 15-year-old playing in her second tournament as a professional, shot a two-over 73 in the fourth round to finish in a tie for 10th.

The US teenager was the clubhouse leader when darkness halted play on Saturday, when the tournament was still playing catch up after a rain delay on Friday.

“She hits it a long way,” Thompson’s playing partner Pettersen said. “She’s 15 and she’s the best 15-year-old I’ve ever seen.”

The major winners this year are Creamer, Kerr and Kraft Nabisco winner Tseng.

Creamer won the US Open after tying for 42nd in the LPGA Championship. Tseng tied for 10th in the US Open and 19th in the LPGA Championship.

The final major of the year is the Women’s British Open in Southport, England, from July 29 to Aug. 1.

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