M.J. Hur became the Prudential Rock Solid Performer of the week after winning the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola.
Hur becomes Rolex First-Time Winner at Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola
19-year-old rookie holds off veterans Pettersen, Redman in two-hole, sudden-death playoff
NORTH PLAINS, Ore. - LPGA Tour rookie player M.J. Hur became the season's fourth Rolex First-Time Winner at the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola, beating out a pair of LPGA veterans, Suzann Pettersen and Michele Redman. Hur, a player out of South Korea, fired a career-low 65 in the final round of the three-day event to claim her first ever LPGA victory, and the $255,000 winner's paycheck.
Hur (69-69-65=203, -13) arrived at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club's Ghost Creek course Sunday morning four strokes back from the lead. After taking advantage of the day's near-perfect conditions, she recorded the round of her career with an eagle on the par-5, 495-yard 10th hole, and birdies on numbers eight, nine, 11, 12 and 14. Once she finished and signed her scorecard, Hur wasn't sure if she was done for the day quite yet. Turned out she was called back to the 18th tee, along with Pettersen (68-68-67=203, -13) and Redman (67-69-67=203, -13), for a playoff. Hur and Pettersen both saved par on the first playoff hole, while Redman bogeyed, ending her run, and settling for no worse second-place. Once the South Korean, Hur, and the Norwegian, Pettersen, traveled back to the 17th tee to settle this thing once and for all, Hur was left standing in the winner's circle with a big smile on her face.
"It was my goal this year (to win) because I working really hard last winter training with my swing coach," said Hur. "It makes me really, really happy. It helped me a lot."
Before joining the LPGA Tour at the beginning of this season, Hur competed on the Duramed FUTURES Tour in 2008, competing in 17 events and finishing in the top-10 eight times, including a win at the Louisiana Pelican Classic. Finishing fourth on the season-ending money list, she earned membership for the 2009 LPGA Tour season.
Competing in her seventh season on the LPGA Tour, Pettersen has now finished in the runner-up spot on the final leaderboard eight times during her career, including three times in 2009. Pettersen slowly crept up the standings at this three-day event, finishing tied for 11th after day one, tied for fourth after day two, and then wound up in second along with Redman. Pettersen, a five-time LPGA Tour winner, although unable to earn her sixth career win this week, was content with how she played throughout the week.
"I mean I finished yesterday feeling I was really low out there, and I played really good today," said Pettersen. "It was a blend of chances, I made a lot of good putts, so I got a nice streak there on nine, 10, 11, 12, and just an unforced error on 15 (double-bogey). Don't ask me what happened there. I had my chance on the first playoff hole, just made a poor putt and she (Hur) made a great putt."
Bowing out after the first playoff hole was 18-year LPGA Tour veteran Redman. The Minneapolis, Minn. native enjoyed a great week of golf overall at the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola, earning her best finish since finishing second at the season-ending ADT Championship back in the 2005 season. On Redman's final day in North Plains, Ore., she recorded a bogey-free, five-birdie performance, good enough to advance to the three-person playoff. Unable to save par on the 18th hole, first of the playoff, Redman bowed out, settling for $136,476, her share of the runner-up's earnings.
"I hit two really good putts," said Redman. "It was a good putt on 18, it just hit something. I hit what I thought was a really good putt, but it just didn't go in the hole."
Approaching her final hole of regulation, Redman actually had no idea of where she was on the leaderboard.
"Well, you know, I had no idea where I was," she explained. "Coming into 18, I really didn't look at the leaderboard because I was just trying to play my own game. I had a great birdie on 17 and I hit a great shot in to here earlier, and the second time around. I just left my putt that far short. It was just fun to be out there again."