Creamer holds on to win Samsung Championship

By Associated PressOctober 5, 2008, 4:00 pm
2006 Samsung World ChampionshipHALF MOON BAY, Calif. ' Paula Creamer could finally look to all those supporters who have seen her through every stage of her young golf career and know shed made them proud while playing right in her backyard.
 
Creamer calmly won her biggest LPGA title yet, holding off a large pack to win the Samsung World Championship on Sunday about 1 1/2 hours west of where she grew up in Pleasanton.
 
This really does mean a lot. I put so much pressure on myself every time I come here, said Creamer, dressed in one of her custom pink outfits. Its hard coming to your hometown. People watch you play all the time, but its a different feeling when youre at home. You are constantly hearing, Go Pleasanton! I want to win so badly, especially for everybody.
 
The 22-year-old Creamer beat Song-Hee Kim by a stroke, closing with a bogey-free 3-under 69 for a 9-under 279 total. Creamer earned $250,000 for her fourth title of the year and eighth overall, going the final 37 holes without a bogey.
 
On No. 18, Creamer holed a 5-foot par putt that rolled around the right lip of the cup and in. She dropped her putter, and raised both arms with a huge smile across her face as Kim waited nearby for a possible playoff. Creamer then jumped into a warm embrace with caddie Colin Cann.
 
Honestly, I didnt see it go in. I heard the people, Creamer said. It was like the longest two seconds of my life having it roll into the hole.
 
Kim finished with a 68 for her fifth top-five finish of the year. She was busy signing autographs near the scoring tent when her coach told her there might be a playoff.
 
I didnt know that, Kim said. I was hoping for that.
 
Top-ranked Lorena Ochoa, the 2006 and 2007 winner, shot 69 to tie for third at 7 under with Juli Inkster (68), Suzann Pettersen (68) and Angela Stanford (70).
 
After Kim moved into a share of the lead by chipping in from 20 feet for birdie on No. 14 ' the first time all day Creamer wasnt alone out front ' Creamer made a 25-foot birdie putt on 15 to retake control.
 
I tried just saying, Come on, keep playing your own game,' Creamer said. Today I knew going into it I couldnt be too aggressive, but I needed to shoot 3 or 4 under and everybody else would have to shoot 6 or 7 under to beat me.
 
Creamer became the first American to win at least four times in a season since Inkster had five victories in 1999. Six times out of 10 Creamer has gone on to win after leading entering the final day, including three times this year.
 
Creamer won with another consistent performance in the elite 20-player field on a spectacular day on the Ocean Course at Half Moon Bay Golf Links. Crashing waves served as background noise and provided quite a scenic view along the back nine. But more than anything, the sunny last day by the Pacific lacked the tricky elements of the previous three rounds: fog, changing wind, rain and cold.
 
To play bogey-free on the weekend on this golf course and in these conditions, people dont realize how incredibly difficult that is, said Creamers father, Paul. Thats how she won.
 
Creamers parents and dozens of supporters cheered her from the large gallery following her all week. She has said she feels added pressure playing back home, but also was committed to keeping her cool and not letting one or two bad holes affect her day or her focus after she struggled to control her emotions Friday.
 
Ochoa birdied No. 16 to pull within a stroke of the lead at 7 under, then Inkster birdied moments later and also moved to 7 under.
 
Ochoa was trying to become the first player to win three consecutive Samsungs and capture her eighth title of 2008 and second in two many weeks after a victory last week in Prattville, Ala. She birdied three straight holes ' Nos. 8-10 ' to get to 6 under. Now, Ochoa will look for another strong finish next week at nearby Danville in a second consecutive event tour in Northern California.
 
I think I had a slow start making a couple of bogeys and I wanted to come back and finish strong on the back, Ochoa said. Im happy. Im glad I gave myself an opportunity to win the tournament.
 
Five-time Samsung champion Annika Sorenstam finished her final appearance in this event at 3-over 291 after a 70. She tossed a ball into the crowd after her round, then signed her share of autographs.
 
Kim, a 20-year-old having a breakout season and one of eight South Koreans in this field, matched her career-best finish of second. She also was runner-up at the Corona Championship in Mexico in April. Yet Kim said she needs to work on improving her conditioning going into 2009 to stay near the top of the leaderboard or to win her first championship.
 
Going in yesterday I didnt have a great feel for my shots, so I was a little worried going into the round today, Kim said through a translator. I had some opportunities but I wasnt able to convert all of them, so Im a little frustrated.
 
Pettersen eagled the par-5 eighth and followed with a pair of birdies to stay in contention. The Norwegian is still searching for first victory of 2008 after winning five times in 2007, including at the Longs Drugs Challenge event to be played at Danville next week.
 
Creamer knows her throng of fans will expect even more now and be eager for another victory.
 
Thats going to be even more pressure, she said, smiling.
 

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage ' Samsung World Championship
  • Golf Channel Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

    Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

    Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

    It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


    On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

    There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

    He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

    His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

    Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

    Getty Images

    Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

    With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

    He picked up one more No. 2, too.

    The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

    In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

    Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

    “It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

    Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

    Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

    He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

    Getty Images

    Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

    Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

    Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

    His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

    “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

    Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

    Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

    Getty Images

    Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

    By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

    Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

    Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

    What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

    Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

    Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

    Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

    Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

    Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

    Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry