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Creamer in contention with lowest total since 2003
September 08, 2012

Paula Creamer, -16, Rolex Rankings No. 18
Jiyai Shin, -14, Rolex Rankings No. 13
Dewi Claire Schreefel, -12, Rolex Rankings No. 141
Danielle Kang, -12, Rolex Rankings No. 193

Rolex Rankings No. 18 Paula Creamer (@ThePCreamer) is in contention to break a two-year winless drought after shooting a third-round, 6-under 65 to take the lead at the Kingsmill Championship. Creamer’s 16-under-par three-day total marks the lowest since the start of the Kingsmill Championship in 2003.

The 9-time LPGA Tour winner notched six birdies during her third round which included a chip-in for birdie on the par-4 13th. Creamer, also known as the Pink Panther, will take a two-stroke lead over second-round leader Jiyai Shin (@sjy1470) heading into tomorrow’s final round.

Shin is also looking to break a winless drought as the 8-time winner has not notched a victory since the 2010 Mizuno Classic in Japan.

If you think of Paula Creamer, it is hard to fathom she has not held the lead heading into the final round since the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open.

“No. I haven't won in two years; that feels like forever, but it also feels like yesterday when I did just win, so it's kind of a give or take. I've been in contention a lot, so it's not that I'm not used to this, that's for sure,” said Creamer. “But it is, it's actually -- I feel great, I feel really -- no matter what happens tomorrow, I'm just going out there and continue what I've been doing this whole year and it's just starting to come together and one round isn't going to make or break it, that's for sure.”

As the 9-time LPGA Tour winner holds a two-stroke lead heading into tomorrow’s final round, if she wins the trophy will hold a special place in her heart and home.

Creamer admitted the only two trophies that occupy her home are from the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open and one from Golf Channel for winning Best Dressed. While the other trophies are kept in a safe spot at her parents’ house, it would only seem fit that a trophy this week would be kept in the home of the Pink Panther.

“I think -- I only have two trophies in my house, I have the U.S. Open and I have this one that I won from the Golf Channel for being the best dressed,” said Creamer. “So think that this one, this one might go in my house because my next one is what I've always said to my parents is, you know, that things that mean a tremendous amount to me. If it comes tomorrow, it comes tomorrow; if it doesn't, it doesn't. But that will be the prize is it gets to go in my house, not my parents'.”

Jiyai Shin might find herself trailing Paula Creamer by two-strokes heading into tomorrow’s final round but the 8-time LPGA Tour winner feels comfortable to mount a come from behind victory.

“Well, I think when I following the leader, it makes me feel better because I knew the target, like I know that she's her score so I keep following and following and following,” said Shin. “When I started on the leader, when I miss the shot, it make more pressure. So I really very comfortable with my position at the moment.”

Shin headed into today’s final round with a 1-stroke lead over Danielle Kang but with pressure already beginning to mount, she quickly moved to 2-over par for the day after bogeys at the second and fourth. Shin then turned to her caddie for some positive reinforcement and made a run with birdies on five out of four holes beginning at the par-4 eighth.

“Actually, I started a new caddie this week and then he keep talking about the positive thinking,” said Shin. “So No. 8, when I make the first putt, it still long putt but he said, oh, still good chance, think fresh, think fresh, it's a birdie time. So my caddie, he helped a lot today.”

In the seven times that the Kingsmill Resort has hosted an LPGA event prior to this year, the tournament winner has also carried the distinction of being a major champion. So does that bode well for any players near the top of the leaderboard this week?

Of the top-7 players on the leaderboard heading into Sunday’s final round at the Kingsmill Championship, three have major championship titles on their resume. Third-round leader Paula Creamer won the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open while Jiyai Shin won the 2008 RICOH Women’s British Open and Stacy Lewis won the 2011 Kraft Nabisco Championship.

“I didn't know that,” Shin said of the history of major championship winners in this event. “But especially this course we need a lot of skill of the shot around the green and we need good accuracy with the driver and iron. The main thing is we have to have good playing with all clubs, and also when we play in major tournaments, we play a really tough course. This course is pretty tough, too.”

Creamer’s last victory on Tour was actually her first major win. The 27-year-old has long said that she relishes playing difficult golf courses that really can test a player. So does this course fit the mold of a “major” track?

“Yes and no,” Creamer said. “I think you have to be a great ball striker around here. You have to be really good with controlling your shots. The last five holes it gets a little bit more windy because you're right next to the water, things like that. You're not necessarily hitting 8- and 9- irons into the greens. It's just one of those golf courses that you've got to be on your game.”

But Creamer added that this year the conditions have been a bit different than years past with the event being played in September rather than the traditional time of May. And with all of the rain in the area recently, it has allowed players to attack the pins more than they have in the past.

“I mean, this is a pretty low number after three days,” Creamer said of her 16-under score. “Obviously you said that that's the lowest it's been. And it's not always like this, it's just they're a little bit softer and you're able to fire at pins a little bit easier. But it says a little bit I guess to the fact that, you know, they're the top players.”

The previous winners at Kingsmill include 10-time major champion Annika Sorenstam (2008), seven-time major champion Karrie Webb (2006), five-time major champion Se Ri Pak (2004) and two-time major winner Cristie Kerr (2005 & 2009). The inaugural winner at Kingsmill in 2003, Grace Park, and 2007 winner Suzann Pettersen have each won one major title.

There have been six Rolex First-Time Winners on the LPGA Tour already this season and that number could grow on Sunday. Tied for third at 12-under-par heading into the final round of the Kingsmill Championship are third-year LPGA Tour member Dewi Claire Schreefel and rookie Danielle Kang and both players are seeking their first career victory on Tour.

Neither Schreefel nor Kang is a stranger to capturing a victory on a big stage. Schreefel was the individual champion at the 2006 NCAA Championships while she played at the University of Southern California. Kang is a two-time U.S. Women’s Amateur Champion, winning back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011.

Schreefel and Kang played together in the final group on Saturday, along with Jiyai Shin. And the two players were impressed by what they saw from each other

“A two-time AM champion, so I'm like oh, I'm kind of curious to see how this is going to be,” Schreefel said of Kang. “ When I play with somebody new and especially, how am Igoing to say this, somebody that I think is more of my -- where I am in my career, I'm always curious to see how they play. She's a solid player, hits the ball good. Aggressive, I like that. Didn't get to see too much short game because, you know, she was on the green all the time. Hit the ball well, so all in all just solid.”

“In the beginning when she started off with a birdie, par, eagle, I thought she was going to make everything every time,” Kang said with a laugh about Schreefel’s hot start on Saturday. “ She doesn't miss the green much, and when she does she's just very solid. She doesn't make mistakes that I would make kind of thing. So I asked her at one point and said oh, how long have you been on Tour, because she seems like such a veteran and I still make mistakes here and there that, you know, three-putting from 15 feet sort of thing.”

Stacy Lewis (@Stacy_Lewis) might have bogeyed the 18th hole during Saturday’s third round of the Kingsmill Championship to fall five-strokes behind current leader but don’t count out the three-time LPGA Tour champion who has boasted quite the final round stroke average this year.

This year, Lewis has shot no worse than a 75 in the final round and has an impressive 69.88 average. Lewis’s final round stroke average fairs far better than Danielle Kang, Dewi Claire Schreefel, Jiyai Shin, Paula Creamer who are all currently ahead of her heading into tomorrow’s final round.

2012 Final Round Stroke Averages:

Paula Creamer: 71.27
Jiyai Shin: 71.91
Dewi Claire Schreefel: 73.39
Danielle Kang: 73

Ai Miyazato, who has won twice already in 2012, sits five shots back after shooting a 4-under 67 in Saturday’s third round. Jennie Lee was disqualified after failing to sign her scorecard. Schreefel has three eagles this week, including two on hole No. 7.


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