Pak wins six player playoff
A year after running away with the
Jamie Farr Kroger Classic, South Korea's Se Ri Pak rolled in a 3-meter (10-foot)
birdie putt on the first extra hole Sunday to win the most crowded playoff in
LPGA Tour history.
Pak, a winner by nine shots a year ago, was the last
of six players to putt on the first playoff hole. From below the hole, she rolled
the ball into the heart of the cup to collect the dlrs 135,000 first-place check
and her second victory of the season.
Pak was joined by Australia's Karrie
Webb and Mardi Lunn, Sweden's Carin Koch and Americans Sherri Steinhauer and Kelli
Kuehne in the playoff. They played the par-5 18th in a sixsome.
and then Kuehne barely missed their birdie putts before Pak hit hers to the roars
of a large gallery, which surrounded the green and lined the fairway at the top
of a large hill overlooking the hole.
There have been three previous five-player
playoffs, the last in 1981.
Pak closed with an even-par 71 to make the
playoff at 8-under 276. The round was played in high humidity and temperatures
near 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit).
The loss was particularly
bitter for Koch, a 28-year-old Swede who was seeking her first LPGA victory. She
held a two-stroke lead coming to the 72nd hole - the same hole where Pak would
later hit the winning putt.
Koch's drive found a grove of pine trees left
of the fairway and she hit trees on her next two shots. That left her 96 meters
(105 yards) short of the green, from where she hit a 9-iron over the green. She
fluffed her chip, which ended up on the fringe and 5 meters (17 feet) behind the
hole, and then two putted.
Kuehne, who recorded a 5-under-par 66 earlier
in the day, had to be summoned by cell phone after leaving the course. Down by
two shots with Koch playing the finishing hole, she thought she had been eliminated
from a potential playoff.
Lunn, who had led each of the first two rounds,
Webb and Steinhauer each shot 70, while Koch had a 69.
A year ago, Pak
shot an LPGA-record 61 in the second round and finished at 261 for the lowest
72-hole total in tour history, winning by nine strokes.
This time, Pak
never could string together any birdies. She was 1-under through 11 holes, but
then bogeyed the 12th and 15th holes.
There were dramatic swings up and
down the leaderboard all day. Six players had at least a share of the lead at
one time or another.