Creamer Holds Off Granada Webb in Hawaii

By Associated PressFebruary 17, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 SBS OpenKAHUKU, Hawaii -- Paula Creamer won the LPGA Tour's season-opening SBS Open on Saturday for her first victory since 2005, handling the whipping wind to hold off Julieta Granada by a stroke.
 
The 20-year-old Creamer closed with a 2-under 70 for a 9-under 207 total and earned $165,000 for her third LPGA Tour title. In 2005 as a rookie, she won two LPGA Tour titles and also took two tournaments in Japan.
 
Conditions were challenging at Turtle Bay's oceanside Palmer Course, with occasional showers and tradewinds that shook the players' pony tails and nerves. Only nine of 83 players finished below par.
 
Paula Creamer
Paula Creamer celebrates her win in the SBS Open at Turtle Bay in Hawaii. (Getty Images)
Granada, who won the season-ending ADT Championship and helped give Paraguay its first Women's World Cup title last month, shot a 69.
 
Karrie Webb closed with a 70 to finish third at 6 under. LPGA player of the year Lorena Ochoa, coming off a six-win season, was another stroke back along with Janice Moodie (72) and 18-year-old Morgan Pressel (74).
 
Granada holed a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th to tie Creamer for the lead at 8 under. But Creamer, playing in the final group, regained the lead by sinking a 40-foot birdie putt on No. 17 that went left, then veered to the right at the end.
 
She smiled, hopped twice and shook her fist as the gallery cheered. Granada, meanwhile, signed autographs as she waited for a possible playoff.
 
Creamer, however, safely reached the 18th green in three and two-putted for par from 15 feet for the victory. She smiled and chomped her putter.
 
Creamer pulled away with a strong front nine with four straight birdies starting on No. 4, but ran into trouble on the back side.
 
'It was a roller coaster,' she said. 'I can't even explain it. I was so up-and-down out there.'
 
With composure and a comfortable cushion, Creamer seemed to have the tournament wrapped up. But the Pink Panther sliced her drive into the marsh and wound up with a double bogey on the 396-yard 11th and missed a 3-foot par putt on 13, stumbling to 8 under. But she managed to hang on to sink the dramatic putt on 17.
 
She told her caddie, 'Let's get into the barn as fast as we can.'
 
'And we did and a win is a win,' she said.
 
It was Creamer's first victory since her eight-stroke win in France in the 2005 Evian Masters. She ended that year second to Annika Sorenstam on the money list and earned rookie of the year honors.
 
Last season, Creamer had 14 top-10 finishes, including a second-place tie at the LPGA Tournament of Champions, and crossed the $1 million mark to set an LPGA record for the most money earned in a season without a victory.
 
With her mother, Rosa, on the bag, Granada holed her second shot from 150 yards for eagle on the 394-yard seventh hole, shooting up the leaderboard and leaving a wide-eyed smile on her face.
 
She fell six strokes off the pace with bogeys on Nos. 8 and 10, but birdied Nos. 12 and 15 to pull within a stroke of the lead. She also just missed a 10-foot birdie putt on 17.
 
Creamer began the round tied for the lead with Sherri Steinhauer and Pressel, who was vying to supplant Creamer as the youngest winner of a full LPGA Tour event.
 
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