Paula Creamer's win this weekend in the SBS Open at Turtle Bay is her first since she won four events -- two LPGA -- in 2005.
At 17, Creamer won, Granada lost
The only thing that kept Paula Creamer and Julieta Granada from having a playoff during yesterday's SBS Open was the par-4 17th.
Playing one group in front of Creamer, Granada came to the third-hardest hole on the course needing a birdie to put even more pressure on Creamer, who was having her difficulties on the closing nine.
Granada pulled to within one of the lead with a 30-foot birdie putt at the par-3 15th. As she stood in the 17th fairway, eyeing her second shot, she knew it was getting interesting. She hit it sweet, as the ball rolled just past the hole to about 12 feet for birdie. Make that putt and close with a birdie at the 18th, and suddenly you have a whole new ballgame.
"That putt (at 17), I thought it was going to break a little bit left to right," Granada said. "I aimed it left edge and it just didn't move at all. I was trying to be aggressive with that putt and not leaving it short. I had the wind against me and I hit it a little too hard and it didn't break at all. I thought I had that one, too. I hit a great shot into there. It was a 7-iron from 162 yards. I felt it. It was a shame that it didn't move because I put a really good stroke on it. It just didn't move."
Granada shook it off and birdied the 18th from 20 feet to draw even with Creamer, who was standing on the 17th green eyeing her long putt when she noticed there were a pair of eights on the leaderboard. She knew that Granada had drawn even.
"Before I putted, I saw that Julieta had made birdie," Creamer said. "I saw the two eights, so I did (know that they were tied for the lead). I was hoping I had to birdie 18, just two-putt this hole (the 17th) and get out of here. It's a difficult hole with a difficult pin placement. I hit a good shot in there, but the wind didn't take it.
"I had kind of a long putt. I was just trying to lag it around the hole and move on, and try to make birdie with a wedge (at the 18th). The birdie on 17, I don't even know how long that was. I want to say it was about 40 feet. I hit 3-wood, 7-iron in there. All I told myself was get it to the hole. You know, I saw the line and it went in and it wasn't one of those kind of putts that you expect to go in. You just want to get it close. It had the right speed and it went in."
As pretty as that was for Creamer, a 10-footer for par at the 15th was equally important for her psyche. She made the turn at 11 under with a four-shot advantage over fellow American Morgan Pressel.
But a double bogey at the 11th after hitting her drive in the water, and a bogey at the 13th due to an untimely 3-putt, left Creamer only two shots clear of the fast-closing Granada. Standing over that putt for par at the 15th, Creamer knew she had to make it or prepare to get passed.
"I was very calm the whole day," Creamer said. "The double on 11 kind of hurt me and I missed a short putt on 12 (for birdie), then my putting started to come in and out. I think the biggest thing for me was my par save on 15. I had 30 feet and I hit it to 10. So it wasn't very good. That was my big momentum type of thing that happened out there."
Needing only a par at the closing hole to win, Creamer did just that, playing three shots perfectly to the green. She two-putted from about 18 feet to capture her third tournament on the LPGA Tour.
"I don't know what happened during that little stretch (on the back nine)," Creamer said. "On the 18th, I just wanted to get in to the clubhouse as fast as I could."
Inside the numbers: The scoring average for the final round was 75.198, the highest of the three days. Blame it on the trades. Considering there were only 85 golfers in the field, it reflects how difficult the final round was for the best women players in the world.
The hardest hole was the par-3 fourth with a scoring average of 3.459. There were only four birdies, 48 pars, 24 bogeys, eight double bogeys and one score listed as other. The easiest was the par-5 third, as it was all three days, with a scoring average of 4.800. There was one eagle by Linda Wessberg, 22 birdies, 55 pars and seven bogeys.
Kim in at Fields Open: Amateur Kimberly Kim will be playing in this week's Fields Open after all. The former Hilo resident received a sponsor's exemption into the second tournament of the LPGA season. She failed to make the cut at Turtle Bay, but hopes for better results at Ko Olina, before returning to her new home in Arizona.