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Creamer wins LPGA playoff with 75-foot putt

Paula Creamer bolts across the green after her eagle on the second playoff hole.

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Paula Creamer bolts across the green after her eagle on the second playoff hole.

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 rolled slowly down the slope and 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 6, 7 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.

"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 would take the trophy home. But she bogeyed the 13th, 15th and 18th holes. "Just not a lot of good decisions," she said.

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.

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.

Seminole's Brittany Lincicome shot a final-round 78 and finished tied for 45th at 7-over 295.

Creamer wins LPGA playoff with 75-foot putt 03/02/14 [Last modified: Sunday, March 2, 2014 9:04pm]
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