Creamer wins HSBC Women's Champions with 75-foot eagle

By Associated PressMarch 2, 2014, 2:07 pm

SINGAPORE - Paula Creamer sank a 75-foot eagle putt on the second playoff hole against Azahara Munoz to win the HSBC Women's Champions on Sunday for her first LPGA title since the 2010 U.S. Women's Open.

Creamer's putt curled across the 18th green and then rolled slowly down the slope and directly into the hole. She ran across the green, then fell to her knees and put her head on the ground, laughing and pounding the grass.

''It's one of those putts where if you just get it in the right spot, it's going to fall down,'' she said. ''But I could stand there all day long and putt that and I don't think get it within six, seven feet.''

Creamer and Munoz finished 72 holes tied at 10-under 278, one stroke ahead of Karrie Webb, who led after every round but bogeyed three of her last six holes to give up a three-shot lead and finish third.



Creamer captured eight titles early in her career before getting her breakthrough win at a major at the U.S. Women's Open.

After that title, though, Creamer found it tough to win again. She came close on a number of occasions, only to fall short every time.

Two years ago, she lost an LPGA record nine-hole playoff against Jiyai Shin at the Kingsmill Championship. She was also third here in Singapore last year and finished in a tie for third twice to start this season.

''I just was struggling. I was enjoying what I was doing, but I wasn't loving it,'' she said. ''My expectations were way too high.''

In December, Creamer got engaged to Derek Heath, which she said put some of her past difficulties in perspective. Then came Sunday's victory against one of the toughest fields outside the majors, featuring 19 of the top 20 ranked players.

''It might be one of my favorite wins. ... It's been almost three years and so much has happened,'' she said. ''Holding that trophy, gosh, it was so nice.''

For much of the day, it appeared as if Webb, not Creamer, would take the trophy home. But after avoiding trouble on a tricky Serapong course at Sentosa Golf Club for much of the week, the veteran Australian stumbled late.


Photos: Creamer sinks 75-footer, goes wild

Photos: Creamer through the years


First, Webb's three-foot par putt on the 13th caught the edge of the hole and curled away. Then she hooked her tee shot left on the 15th, grimacing as it dropped into the water. She settled for bogey on both.

She came undone on the 18th when another errant tee shot ended up in a bunker. She took a big swing at the ball and it hit the lip of the bunker, plopping back down into the sand to lead to another bogey.

''I'm a bit in my head right now,'' Webb said after the round. ''Just not a lot of good decisions.''

Creamer and Munoz, meanwhile, were steady in the closing holes.

Creamer, who trailed Webb by four strokes at the start of the day, made a difficult 12-footer for birdie on the 15th to pull even with Webb at 10 under. Then, after hitting into the bunker herself on No. 18, she recovered to save par and headed to the clubhouse to wait for Munoz to finish.

The Spaniard, who had trailed by five strokes early in the round, came out of nowhere to join the leaders by sinking a 12-foot birdie putt on the 17th. She had a chance to win it on the 18th but pulled her birdie putt wide.

Webb wasn't the only one who had a disappointing day. Defending champion Stacy Lewis saw her streak of 13 consecutive top-10 finishes broken with her joint-40th place. She had been closing in on Webb's LPGA record of 16 straight top-10 finishes, set in 1998-99.

''I played terrible all week,'' she said. ''I didn't hit the ball well or make any putts.'' 

World No. 1 Inbee Park shot a 68 to finish in joint fourth place at 7-under 281 with No. 2 Suzann Pettersen, So Yeon Ryu, Angela Stanford and Morgan Pressel.

Michelle Wie and Teresa Lu were two strokes back in a tie for ninth.

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.

Enrique Berardi/LAAC

Ortiz leads LAAC through 54; Niemann, Gana one back

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 8:15 pm

Mexico's Alvaro Ortiz shot a 1-under 70 Monday to take the 54-hole lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship in Chile.

At 4 under for the week, he leads by one over over Argentina's Jaime Lopez Rivarola, Chile's Toto Gana and Joaquin Niemann, and Guatemala's Dnaiel Gurtner.

Ortiz is the younger brother of three-time Web.com winner Carlos. Alvaro, a senior at Arkansas, finished tied for third at the LAAC in 2016 and lost in a three-way playoff last year that included Niemann and Gana, the champion.

Ortiz shared the 54-hole lead with Gana last year and they will once again play in the final group on Tuesday, along with Gurtner, a redshirt junior at TCU.

“Literally, I've been thinking about [winning] all year long," Ortiz said Monday. "Yes, I am a very emotional player, but tomorrow I want to go out calm and with a lot of patience. I don't want the emotions to get the better of me. What I've learned this past year, especially in the tournaments I’ve played for my university, is that I have become more mature and that I have learned how to control myself on the inside on the golf course.”

In the group behind, Niemann is the top-ranked amateur in the world who is poised to turn professional, unless of course he walks away with the title.

“I feel a lot of motivation at the moment, especially because I am the only player in the field that shot seven under (during the second round), and I am actually just one shot off the lead," he said. "So I believe that tomorrow I can shoot another very low round."

Tuesday's winner will earn an invitation to this year's Masters and exemptions into the The Amateur Championship, the U.S. Amateur, sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open, and final qualifying for The Open.