Paula Creamer Wins the HSBC Women’s Champions
Karrie Webb opened the door and Paula Creamer barreled through it in dramatic fashion.
The 75-foot eagle putt that Creamer drained on the second extra hole at the HSBC Women’s Champions not only gave her the tournament title (over Azahara Munoz) but also gained the LPGA Tour an extra helping of attention. The winning putt started out at a moderate pace, then made a sudden left-hand turn before covering the rest of the distance and finding the bottom of the cup.
“It might be one of my favorite wins, and that’s taking a pretty big leap right there,” Creamer said. “But you know, it has, it’s been almost [four] years and you know, so much has happened…It has been coming and it just shows you perseverance. That’s why I love the game. I work hard for this reason. And holding that trophy, gosh, it was so nice.”
For much of the day, Creamer, Munoz, and the rest of the field seemed to be playing for second place; Webb seemingly had things going her way.
The LPGA Hall of Fame had a three-shot lead with six holes to play but missed a short par putt at the 13th, then hit her tee shot in the water at the par-4 15th, leading to another bogey.
At the par-5 finisher needing a birdie to win and a par to be part of the playoff, Webb found a bunker with her the shot, then caught a lip with her second shot. The end result was another bogey, her third over the final six holes.
“Doesn’t feel great at the moment,” Webb said. “There’s lessons to be learned from the decisions made. Even if you learn those lessons, sometimes you’re going to repeat in that situation. I’ve doubled the last to lose a tournament to Se Ri Pak before. You know, it’s happened to me before. It’s not the first time.”
That left the stage to Creamer and Munoz, who finished regulation tied at 10-under par 278. The two players started the playoff with matching pars before returning to the 18th tee once more. Munoz chose to lay up with her second shot but Creamer went for broke and reached the green in two to set up one of the most dramatic putts in recent LPGA history.
The win capped a comeback of sorts for Creamer, who had been forced to deal with injury issues since her win at the Women’s Open, particularly in 2012.
“I just was struggling,” she said. “I was enjoying what I was doing but I wasn’t loving it. It was hard. My thumb hurt. My arm hurt. I was coming off of surgery and he told me to take a year, and I didn’t believe him.
In reality, they were 150 percent right and what do I know, I’m just a golfer. My expectations were way too high. I got in my own way for a little bit.”