Spain’s Beatriz Recari rolled in a birdie on her second playoff hole to edge Kim In-kyung and capture the Kia Classic on Sunday for her second career LPGA Tour victory.
The 25-year-old Recari, who started playing golf at age 11, earned her only previous LPGA Tour title at the 2010 CVS LPGA Challenge.
“It was hard down the stretch,” Recari said. “I had a birdie on 16, then after that this [18th] green was tough. I really, really have to thank my family and my coach. It’s really special to get my second win.”
Both players made bogey on the final hole of regulation on Sunday to set the stage for the playoff, which was equally mistake-prone.
South Korea’s Kim shot a closing one-under 71, while Recari finished regulation with a two-over 74 at the Aviara Golf Club. They both finished at nine-under-par 279.
The pair returned to the 18th tee for the playoff and each landed in the short grass off the tee. Recari pulled her second shot into the chipping section left of the green, then Kim did the same.
Recari hammered her third shot seven feet past the cup and Kim left her birdie effort nine feet shy.
Kim missed the putt to the left, leaving Recari with a chance to win, but the Spaniard missed her par chance well right of the hole.
They both tapped in for bogey and returned to the 18th tee for a second chance at a winner-take-all hole. Kim and Recari both found the fairway off the tee again.
Recari’s second shot almost sailed into the water right of the green, but stopped on the fringe, while Kim’s approach stopped more than 30 feet short of the flag.
The South Korean missed her birdie putt left of the hole, as Recari then poured in her birdie from off the green for her third international victory.
“I’m not close to calm right now, it’s the opposite,” Recari said. “Every victory is different. This is just amazing, I can’t believe it. I’m just really happy.”
Earlier in the week, Recari made her 38th straight LPGA Tour cut. She was one of just three players last year to make the cut in each of her starts.
She competed for four years on the European Tour — from 2006 to 2009 — winning the Finnair Masters.
Pornanong Phatlum bogeyed 18 to miss the playoff by one. Phatlum shot a closing four-under 68 to end at eight-under. She tied with Cristie Kerr (71) and Mo Martin (69).
Aussie Karrie Webb (74), Jane Park (71) and Lizette Salas (72) shared sixth place at seven-under-par 281.
Taiwan’s Amy Hung finished with a one-over 73 to be tied for 57th place on seven-over 295.
Additional reporting by staff writer