About Us Contact Us Advertise Newsletter

Golf tournaments, events, majors

Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2008 > LPGA > SemGroup Championship > Round 4
 

SEMGROUP CHAMPIONSHIP RELATED STORIES





Paula Creamer clinches title in a playoff

The crystal trophy was waiting for her as Paula Creamer stood alone outside the clubhouse at Cedar Ridge, a pink cell phone attached to her ear and a smile that was brighter than the late afternoon sun in Oklahoma.

On the phone was Nancy Lopez, her mentor, former Solheim Cup captain and new BFF.

Everything was so different from last week: the conversation, the mood, and especially the outcome.

“This was my turn this time,” Creamer said.

Seven days after losing the lead and the playoff to Annika Sorenstam, Creamer again had to go overtime Sunday in the SemGroup Championship after a stunning turn of events.

With a two-shot lead over Juli Inkster and her ball in the 18th fairway, Creamer blasted a 5-iron over the green and made bogey, and Inkster hit an 8-iron to 18 feet and watched her putt fall for birdie on the final turn.

But instead of getting nervous, as she did against Sorenstam by making a bogey 6 in the playoff, Creamer got mad. She fired at pins and cashed in on the second extra hole, No. 10, by holing an 8-foot birdie putt for a trophy she couldn’t afford to lose.

Lopez was in south Florida last week to console her. This time, she was on the phone to congratulate her.

“She has done so much for women’s golf and she has influenced a lot of my golf, especially now,” Creamer said.

She hasn’t entirely influenced Creamer or the 21-year-old would have been crying after a hard-fought victory. Instead, she was relieved at not letting another victory get away, and proud of an effort that was nothing short of resilient.

Creamer closed with a 1-over 72, the first time in her six LPGA Tour victories that she was over par in the final round. She made three bogeys in regulation, one that cost her the outright lead, and all three times bounced back with a birdie.

“I was not going to lose this week,” Creamer said. “I was going to win this golf tournament, and I did in the playoff. Unfortunately, it had to go into a playoff, but I can tell you I was 120 percent prepared going into that from last week.”

Lost in a terrific duel was the bid by Lorena Ochoa to win a record-tying fifth straight LPGA event, although it wasn’t much of a bid. She didn’t break par at Cedar Ridge until the final round, and her 2-under 69 wasn’t nearly enough.

Ochoa started eight shots behind on Sunday and wound up in a tie for fifth, five shots out of the playoff.

“It’s done,” Ochoa said. “I tried really hard and it didn’t work. Hopefully, I’ll start a new streak next week.”

Inkster, who turns 48 next month, had a chance to become the oldest winner in LPGA Tour history, and she hit the ball well enough to win. But she missed five putts inside 10 feet on the first 11 holes, and after making the clutch 18-footer on the 18th for a 70 that got her into a playoff, she didn’t give herself any good looks on the two extra holes.

“I did want it bad, but I tried not to feel that way out there,” Inkster said. “I was trying to be patient. But when you just keep missing putt after putt, it kind of wears on you. I putted so good for the first three days, but it’s funny. You just wake up and feel like you’ve got a 2-by-4 in your hand instead of a putter.”

Each player could look at putts she could have made throughout a relatively calm afternoon by Oklahoma standards.

Inkster missed a 4-foot birdie putt on the par-5 fifth that would have given her a share of the lead. On the next hole, Creamer had a putt from the same distance to build a three-shot margin, but she missed.

Creamer three-putted from the seventh, bending over to pluck her ball from the cup on her 2-foot par until it swirled around the edge. That left them tied, but only briefly, for Inkster pulled her tee shot on No. 8 into a hazard and had to scramble for bogey.

For all her misses, though, Inkster came up big on the 18th with a birdie putt to give herself another chance in Tulsa.

“Unbelievable,” Creamer said. “She wants everything so badly.”

Perhaps it was only fitting that the tournament ended on the 10th hole with Creamer’s 8-foot birdie putt. Inkster was in about the same spot earlier in the round, her shoulders slumped, when another putt turned away.

“I just knew it was a matter of time before she made one,” Inkster said. “I had the exact same putt for birdie on the 10th hole, and I just knew she would roll that in. It’s disappointing, because I definitely played good enough to win.”

Both finished at 2-under 282. Creamer earned $270,000, joining Sorenstam and Ochoa as the only multiple winners on the LPGA Tour this year. Then again, with Ochoa winning five of her seven tournaments, she hasn’t left much for anyone else.

Nor was she terribly disappointed to see the streak end.

“That’s a hard word,” she said. “I’m not disappointed because I gave myself a chance and I tried really hard. Sometimes it doesn’t happen for you. I’m leaving with a smile on my face.”

It wasn’t quite as big as the smile Creamer had stretched across her face.

“It feels so much better than last week, I can tell you that,” Creamer said.

 

 

Clubhouse Scores




Golf Today Classifieds

Advertise

Bookmark page with:
What are these Email This Page Subscribe Follow us on Twitter Top of Page
News Tours Rankings Tuition Course Directory Equipment Asian Travel Notice Board

© Golftoday.co.uk 1996-2014