Date: October 06, 2008

Creamer steps up

Paula Creamer knocked in a long birdie at No.15 to retake the lead and held on en route to a one-stroke victory at the Samsung World Championship on Sunday. It was the fourth victory of the year and eighth career for the 22-year-old Californian, who finished with a three-under-par 69. The four wins this season are the most by an American player since Juli Inkster collected five in 1999. Beyond adding to a strong campaign, it was an emotional win for Creamer, who broke into tears during a TV interview when she realised that she claimed the tournament near her hometown of Mountain View. “This means a lot. That is (a) big win for myself,” she said later. “I put so much pressure on myself every time I come here and to finally have one, it feels really good. I&aposm very excited.” “I briefly looked at my phone and people kept saying, &aposDid I see you cry? I didn&apost think you had emotions and all of this.&apos It does. It really means a lot to me, this win.” Creamer came into the final round with a one-shot lead following a 68 on Saturday. That slim edge disappeared on the back nine Sunday when Korean Kim Song-hee birdied the 14th to pull even at eight-under. As if losing the lead was not enough, two-time defending champion and world No.1 Lorena Ochoa and the Hall of Famer Inkster both notched a birdie on No.16 to pull within a stroke. Also moving to seven-under was Suzann Pettersen with a birdie at the 15th. Despite the crowd at the top of the leaderboard, Creamer did not lose her focus, coming up with a birdie putt from 25 feet out on her next hole to move back ahead. She maintained that lead until the 18th, when a shaky birdie attempt nearly cost her. However, Creamer was able to lip in a par putt to seal the win, ending up at nine-under 279. “Honestly, I didn&apost see it go in,” Creamer said about the clinching putt. “All I heard was the people cheer for it, then I was like, it was like the longest two seconds of my life having it roll into the hole.” Seeking her first win on the LPGA Tour, Kim finished a shot behind following a final-round 68. It was the second time the 20-year-old was a runner-up this season, ending up 11 strokes behind Ochoa at the Corona Championship in April. “Going in (Saturday), I didn&apost have a great feel for my shots, so I was a little worried coming into the round today,” Kim said through an interpreter. “But I played pretty well. I had a lot of opportunities but I wasn&apost able to convert all of them, so I&aposm a little frustrated.” Ochoa, who was trying to become the fourth player to win this event at least three times, ended up in a tie for third at 281 following a 69. The Mexican finished tied with Inkster (68), Pettersen (68) and Angela Stanford (70). Australian Katherine Hull was a stroke further back in outright seventh, while compatriot Karrie Webb struggled to a five-over-par total. Ochoa had a much better showing on the back nine than she had on Saturday, notching an eagle at the par-five 10th and the birdie on 17th. However, she went into a bunker on her approach of the 18th green before having to save for a par. She struggled mightily after the turn in the third round, ending up with a double bogey at No. 13 and two other bogeys en route to a 1-over 73 to hamper her chances for another crown. Inkster was looking for her fourth win here, claiming her last title back in 2000. A five-time champion here, Annika Sorenstam finished in 15th at three-over-par 291 following a closing-round 70. Fourth Round of the Samsung World Championship, California -9: Paula Creamer 68 74 68 69 -8: Song-Hee Kim 69 73 70 68 -7: Juli Inkster 73 72 68 68, Lorena Ochoa 69 73 70 69, Suzann Pettersen 74 70 69 68, Angela Stanford 69 73 69 70 -6: Katherine Hull (Australia) 70 73 69 70 -5: Eun-Hee Ji 73 73 70 67, Ji-Yai Shin 67 76 70 70 -3: Christie Kerr 73 73 68 71 -2: Jeong Jang 72 76 68 70 -1: Seon Hwa Lee 75 69 72 71 Also: +5: Karrie Webb (Australia) 74 76 73 70