Paula Creamer birdied the final three holes, making a five-footer at 18 after a stellar approach, to win the Fields Open by one shot. It is the fifth win of Paula’s career and her third in the last 12 months. Jeong Jang finished second at -15, Lindsey Wright was third at -14 and Annika Sorenstam was fourth at -12.
It wasn’t a free-for-all or even a donnybrook, but it was an entertaining shootout. Jang birdied 6 to break an early tie with Creamer and then both players went on a long par run which allowed Sorenstam, Wright, Minea Blomqvist and several others to get in contention. Annika was on a real rollercoaster, following a double-bogey at 10 with three straight birdies to get to -12 and within one. Sorenstam’s downfall began at the par-5 14th – she drove left near the cart path, missed the green right, stubbed her chip short right into the bunker, blasted out to six feet and missed her par putt.
Early on the back nine, Jang and Creamer still weren’t able to put any distance on the field. Wright moved within one when she hit the pin with her third at 14 and made birdie. Annika went back up-the-hill with a 10-footer at 15 to join Lindsey at -12. The final group was put on the clock for being a hole behind as they went to 14, and that seemed to jump-start them. Paula had a 15-footer for eagle which just missed right – the birdie tap-in momentarily tied her for the lead at -13. JJ had just missed a 25-footer but then tapped in for birdie to go back up by one. Blomqvist rolled in a four-footer at 15 to get herself within two. Five players were still in the hunt with only a handful of holes remaining.
Jang finally gave herself some separation at 15 – she put her approach to within a foot to get to -15 and go two-up with three to play. Wright birdied 16 from 15 feet to join Creamer at -13, until Paula made a 15-footer of her own at 16 to put herself one back of JJ. Wright kept on coming, rolling home another medium-range putt at 17 to re-tie Creamer for second. Sorenstam missed her birdie try at 17, dropping the lid on her chances. Paula sank another one from 15 feet for birdie and when Jang missed her 10-footer at 17, the two were tied going to 18 with Wright one behind.
At 18, Wright missed left from 25 feet and went to the clubhouse at -14. Creamer played a brilliant approach to five feet. JJ’s second looked good but bounced to the right, stopping in the fringe. Her 35-foot attempt needed to go, but she missed it weakly to the left. Paula rolled the birdie home to complete the come-from-behind victory.
I’m afraid to go check out Seoulsisters’ web-board – another victory slips away from one of their Korean favorites, and to Creamer no less. I sympathize – JJ is one of my favorites too. I hated to see Song-Hee Kim falter in her final-group debut – the 76 dropped her to T15. Karen Stupples, Louise Friberg (the Swede whose name always makes me think of Lynyrd Skynyrd), Hee-Won Han, Nancy Scranton and Teresa Lu all finished great to gather in their first Top 10s in awhile.
Expect more blabbering and many video clips tomorrow. Plus a special announcement.