Spain’s Beatriz Recari fired a five-under-par 66 on Sunday to win the US$1.3 million LPGA Marathon Classic, edging US veteran Paula Creamer by a stroke.
Recari won her third career LPGA title and her second of the season, having earlier taken this year’s Kia Classic near San Diego and the 2010 LPGA Challenge.
One stroke ahead on the final hole, Recari found the short rough behind the green, but blasted five feet past the hole and made the comeback putt for the victory.
“It feels really good,” Recari said. “I did a very good job at the beginning. I stayed calm. I was aggressive. When I felt comfortable I went for it.”
Recari, who finished 72 holes on 17-under-par 267, won for the third time in as many chances when she led or shared the lead. She began the day level atop the leaderboard with Creamer, who was second on 268 after firing a 67.
“It’s hard. I came out to win,” Creamer said. “Beatriz played great. What are you going to do? There’s a couple shots out there I wish I could redo, but not many.”
Creamer, who won the event in 2008, has won nine career LPGA titles, but none since taking her only major crown at the 2010 US Women’s Open.
Since then, she has had 22 top-10 finishes without a victory.
Creamer and Recari began the day three strokes ahead of their nearest rival and stretched the margin on the front nine. Creamer birdied the third, fifth and par-five seventh, while Recari birdied the fourth, par-three sixth and seventh.
Recari hit to eight feet and made the birdie putt at the par-three 14th to seize a one-stroke lead, although US teen playing partner Lexi Thompson earned the biggest cheer for the final trio with an ace that bounced twice and rolled six feet into the cup.
Creamer and Recari both birdied the 16th, the Spaniard staying one stroke in front with two closing par-five holes remaining.
At the 17th, Creamer missed a 10-foot birdie putt, but Recari missed a four-foot birdie putt, their pars building the drama to the final hole.
Creamer put her tee shot at 18 off a tree and was in deep rough after her first two shots, but found the back edge of the putting area. She missed a 20-foot birdie putt and tapped in, only to watch the Spaniard get up and down for the victory.
Thompson and England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff shared third on 271, with the US’ Angela Stanford and Jacqui Concolino sharing fifth another three strokes adrift.
Taiwan’s Candie Kung finished tied for 27th place after a final-round 70 gave her a four-under 280 total.
Additional reporting by staff writer