Long Playoff after a Long Wait
Waiting for a victory was taken to the extreme last year at the Kingsmill Championship when Paula Creamer and Jiyai Shin battled to the end - and beyond.
Both players, among the top-ranked players in the world, were without LPGA victories since 2010. And each was coming back after injury setbacks.
So it was appropriate that the LPGA's return to the Kingsmill Resort's River Course last September went on and on. Creamer had the chance to win in regulation but made bogey on the 72nd hole. Creamer and Shin made eight pars each on the 382-yard par-4 18th hole in sudden death late Sunday afternoon before darkness stopped play. They stayed on that hole because the gallery was in place and it would have taken too long to reach another hole. When the playoff resumed on Monday morning, they started at the par-4 16th hole where Creamer three-putted for bogey and Shin two-putted for the win. Creamer and Shin played the 18th hole 12 times during the tournament with all pars except for Creamer's three-putt bogey on the 72nd hole that forced the playoff.
Both players have excelled after the close finish. Shin has won three times. Creamer is riding a streak of six top-17 finishes or better this season.
The LPGA record for a playoff is 10 holes at the 1972 Corpus Christi Open. Three holes were played before darkness postponed play to the next day. JoAnn Prentice won with a birdie putt on the 10th extra hole to beat Sandra Palmer. Kathy Whitworth was eliminated the previous day. It was Prentice's first win in more than five years, a similar scenario to last year when Creamer and Shin were searching for their first victories in more than two years.
Two weeks ago in Valencia, Spain, Raphael Jacquelin of France won a European Tour record-tying playoff at the Spanish Open, edging Germany's Maximilian Kieffer on their ninth try at the 18th hole.
Professional golf's longest sudden-death playoff, over 11 holes, didn't have a final result. At the PGA Tour's 1949 Motor City Open, Cary Middlecoff and Lloyd Mangrum were declared co-winners by mutual agreement due to darkness.
Solheim Cup's fresh faces update
With warm weather approaching around the country, thoughts are turning toward the late summer Solheim Cup, scheduled for Aug. 13-18 at the Colorado Golf Club in Parker, Colo. (suburban Denver). There are some news faces battling for spots on the teams during the heart of the LPGA season.
Even though Carlota Ciganda and Caroline Masson couldn't overcome Inbee Park at last week's North Texas LPGA Shootout, they put themselves in good position to play on the European team. Ciganda, from Spain, battled Park down to the last hole, losing by one stroke. She is ranked second in the European standings based on Solheim Cup points. Masson, from France, led after two rounds and was two behind after three in Texas and finished T15. She is fourth in Solheim Cup points.
The European team is determined by the top four players on the Ladies European Tour in Solheim Cup points, the top four from the Rolex Women's World Rankings and four Captain's Picks.
On the United States side, Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda and Lizette Salas are ranked sixth, seventh and eighth in the standings (Korda and Salas are tied for seventh). Members of Team USA are decided by the top eight, followed by two players from the Rolex Rankings not already qualified by points and two Captain's Picks.
Lewis will be on 'Feherty'
Look for Stacy Lewis on the Golf Channel's popular interview show, 'Feherty,' in the near future. Lewis flew back to Texas after the LPGA Lotte Championship in Hawaii two weeks ago and filmed the show with David Feherty in Arkansas.
"It was pretty entertaining," Lewis said. "David is what you see on the show, that's how he is all the time. We had a lot of fun. He was goofing off the whole time."
Lewis said that Feherty was even trying to make friends in Arkansas, where the Razorback fans make a hog call to support their athletic teams.
"He did his own version of a hog call, which was pretty interesting, to say the least," Lewis said. "So you have to watch the show to see that. I think it's going to come out the end of May is when they're talking about it showing on TV. I'm excited to see what it turned out like."
Carlota Ciganda was attempting to become the fourth Spaniard to win on the LPGA last week. The previous winners included Beatriz Recari, Azahara Munoz and Marta Figueras‑Dotti. … Quick turnarounds are status quo for the organizers of the Kingsmill Championship. The 2012 event was announced in January 2012, eight months before the first tournament in September. Now, it has been eight months since that first tournament and its new May date. … Inbee Park and Stacy Lewis are ranked 1-2 in the latest Rolex Women's World Rankings. They are also tied atop the Scoring Average category on the LPGA with identical 69.5 scoring averages. … Jiyai Shin leads the LPGA in Driving Accuracy at 84.3 percent. She finished third in 2012 and second in 2009 and 2010 in this category. … Brittany Lang is sure to get a second week of congratulations this week after Kevin Spann proposed to her on the ninth green of last week's North Texas LPGA Shootout. The couple met in the parking lot of their home club, TPC Craig Ranch, in suburban Dallas. Lang was raised in McKinney, Texas, and was born in Richmond, Va., approximately one hour from this week's tournament site in Williamsburg, Va.
This is the first year for the event.
Will Inbee Park defend her title?