Perrot Falters Rallies for First Win

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2005 Longs Drugs ChallengeAUBURN, Calif. -- Nicole Perrot of Chile birdied two holes late on her back nine Sunday to overtake Hee-Won Han and win the Longs Drugs Challenge. She shot an even-par 71 and finished at 14-under-par 270 to win by a stroke at The Ridge Golf Course.
 
'It was quite exciting,' said Perrot, who became the first player from Chile to win on the LPGA Tour. 'I stayed patient and at the end I had a little putt to put in. I kept focus on what I was doing.'
 
Nicole Perrot
Nicole Perrot became the first woman from Chile to ever win on the LPGA Tour.
Han, who won last week's Office Depot Championship, posted a 2-under 69 on Sunday to finish in second place.
 
'I tried hard, but it's not going in,' said Han, referring to her putting on Sunday. 'My shots are pretty good. I'm pretty tired because we played until Monday.'
 
Perrot played poorly on the front nine with a three-putt bogey at the first. She hit a 4-iron into the third green and three-putted for another bogey. Perrot two-putted from 6 feet for yet another bogey, this time at five.
 
Han moved into the lead with her play on the front nine. She collected three birdies in a row from the fifth, all from inside 3 feet, and it looked like she was poised for back-to-back wins on tour.
 
The birdie at seven was Han's last so it was up to Perrot to take control of the tournament.
 
At the par-5 11th, Perrot hit a 60-degree wedge to 10 feet and rolled in the birdie putt. She now trailed by a single stroke, but it was her play late in the round that gave her the win.
 
Perrot split the fairway with her drive at the par-5 15th, but her second landed in a greenside bunker. She blasted out to a foot and tapped in the birdie putt to match Han, who did not move up the leaderboard with her run of pars.
 
Perrot faced a difficult approach shot at 16 as heavy wind and water next to the flag forced most players to aim toward the center of the green. Perrot hit a 5-iron into the wind and landed 6 feet from the hole. She converted that birdie try and was now in first.
 
Things did not go smoothly coming into the clubhouse for Perrot. At the 17th, she almost landed in a hazard, but was able to save par. One hole later, Perrot needed to roll in a 5-footer at the last to win and that's exactly what she did.
 
'That green is really tough to putt,' acknowledged Perrot, who pocketed $150,000 for the victory. 'It was a really fast putt, but it's tough at the end of the day.'
 
Catriona Matthew (68) and Liselotte Neumann (72) tied for third place at minus-10. Shi Hyun Ahn posted a 4-under 67 and shared fifth with Lindsey Wright, who posted a 70 on Sunday. They came in at 9-under-par 275.
 
Defending champion Christina Kim rebounded on Sunday. She shot a 3-under 68 and finished in a tie for 17th at minus-6. That was better than Annika Sorenstam on Sunday. Sorenstam carded a 1-over 72 and tied for 22nd place at 4-under-par 280.
 
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