Sunday, March 2, 2014

HSBC Women's Champions Sunday: Paula Creamer and Azahara Munoz in Playoff!

Yesterday I asked if Karrie Webb (-11) and Angela Stanford (-10) would further separate themselves from the field or come back to it in the final round of the HSBC Women's Champions--and today it was the latter, with the Hall of Famer shooting a 74 and the American a 75.  The chief beneficiaries of the veterans' struggles are Paula Creamer (69, -10) and Azahara Munoz (70, -10), who are locked in a playoff even as I write.  More on how they got there and what happens in it soon!

[Update 1 (2:50 am):  Disaster struck Stanford 1st, as she bogeyed 1 and 5 and double bogeyed 6 to drop to -6.  She fought back with 3 birdies in her next 6 holes to get to -9, but it seemed that Webb had the tournament well in hand by that time.  After a bogey on 2, she had birdied the next 2 par 5s (the 4th and 7th holes) and stayed at -12 all the way through the 12 hole.  By that point, she lead Munoz by 4 shots and Stanford and Creamer by 3.  Munoz had bogeyed her 1st 2 holes to drop to -6 but fought back to -8 with back-to-back birdies on 4 and 5; Creamer, meanwhile, had gotten off to a great start with 3 birdies in her 1st 12 holes of bogey-free golf, but had fallen back to -9 with a bogey on the par-4 13th.]

[Update 2 (2:55 am):  Creamer was playing in the threesome ahead of Webb, Stanford, and Munoz, so she was the 1st in the clubhouse to double digits under par, as she birdied the par-4 15th and parred every other hole.  With bogeys on 13 and 15, Webb rapidly fell back to -10, as Munoz birdied the par-3 14th to join Stanford at -9.  She followed it up with another birdie on a par 3, this time on the 17th, as Stanford bogeyed 16 and 17 to fall out of contention.  So with 3 players at -10, 1 in the clubhouse, the final threesome played the par-5 18th.]

[Update 3 (2:56 am):  I'm not sure how Munoz parred it and Webb bogeyed it, but that's how we got to this playoff.  More details when I find them out!]

[Update 4 (3:00 am):  So at this point I went to twitter, and here's how it played out down the stretch.  Both Creamer and Munoz hit the fairway off the tee of the par-5 18th, while Creamer stayed in it on her second shot and Munoz barely found the right rough.  Both hit the green, with Munoz missing her birdie putt 1st on the low side and Creamer sending them back to the 18th tee.]

[Update 5 (3:02 am):  Creamer has just hit the par 5 in 2, while Munoz laid up and put herself in good position for her approach.]

[Update 6 (3:05 am):  OMG, Webb had tried to hit a rescue club from a fairway bunker on her 2nd shot on 18 and left it in the trap!  She then needed to get up and down from 100 yards out to stay at -10.  Ouch!  She had 32 putts today, easily her worst putting day of the week, too.]

[Update 7 (3:07 am):  The wait is over!  Paula wins with a massive eagle putt!  I can't believe it!!!]

[Update 8 (3:08 am):  That's LPGA victory #10 and her 1st since the U.S. Women's Open in 2010.  Not that anyone's counting right now!]

[Update 9 (3:14 am):  I think So Yeon Ryu (bogey-free 66), Inbee Park (bogey-free 68), Suzann Pettersen (4-birdie 70), and Morgan Pressel (3-birdie 71), who tied Stanford in 4th at -7, just got officially overshadowed.  As it undoubtedly should be!]

[Update 10 (3:16 am):  Stanford also had her worst putting day of the week by far today.  Creamer actually did, too, but she hit 16 greens and that made all the difference in regulation.  Turned out she was just saving up her putting heroics for the playoff!]

[Update 11 (3:23 am):  On the down side, Teresa Lu fell out of contention early and finished with a 75 today (she did tie Michelle Wie for 9th), Stacy Lewis's top-10 streak ended at "13" (I would have called it over when she WDed late last season), Na Yeon Choi (who I picked to win this thing) ended up just outside the top 10 with Chella Choi at -4, Caroline Hedwall tumbled all the way to T16 with a closing 75, Ji-Yai Shin (74) and Anna Nordqvist (75) barely made the top 25, former #1s Cristie Kerr (73) and Ya Ni Tseng (74) finished in T35, Shanshan Feng joined Lewis at T40, and Ai Miyazato, Jessica Korda, and Lizette Salas finished near the bottom of the pile.]

[Update 12 (3:25 am):  Meanwhile, Mika Miyazato was low Japanese golfer at +3.  At least she was 6 of 8 in sand saves and had a walkoff birdie.  And she was among the 1st to congratulate Paula Creamer on twitter.  It looks like she's headed back to Okinawa for the JLPGA season-opener, along with Ji-Yai Shin and Teresa Lu (and I think Shanshan Feng).]

[Update 13 (9:30 am):  Here's the putt on Golf Channel video:


[Update 14 (11:06 am):  Paula's putt made SportsCenter!  And it got the Brent Kelley treatment, too!]

[Update 15 (11:21 am):  Paula made it onto Golf Babes, too.  (As if there was a doubt!)]

[Update 16 (3:24 pm):  Tony Jesselli's excited!  (Surprisingly, even more than onechan!)]

[Update 17 (7:26 pm):  As always, bangkokbobby comes through with videos, photos, and personal observations.]


Blue Falcon said...

Three words: Pretty Darned Amazing! I stayed up to watch the tournament-my DVR messed up the first round and I wanted to make sure I didn't miss the rest of the tournament, and it was worth it! OMG! I heard Al Michaels "Do You Believe in Miracles?" in my head when Paula made that putt.

Side notes: Paula was the most searched person/phrase on Yahoo! at the time I logged on, and even Yahoo!'s golf blog Devil Ball Golf-which usually can't be bothered to do anything other than kissing Tiger's butt-leads off with the putt. That says something about this. I am really happy she broke her duck like that.

The Constructivist said...

Back when Jay Busbee handled Devil Ball Golf, they covered the LPGA a lot better. Jay was kind enough to link to me regularly, as well.

Glad to hear Paula's putt is getting the attention it--and she--so richly deserve!

diane said...

Shane Bacon was better with LPGA before Erica Blasberg died.

The Constructivist said...

Ah, I never noticed that! Good catch, diane!

Felonius Monk said...

Nice to see Paula's drought come to an end. Maybe it's a harbinger of things to come.