HARU OUT­LASTS CRISTIE

Claims Texas Shootout crown on sixth play­off hole

New Straits Times - - Sport -

JA­PAN’S Haru No­mura birdied the sixth hole of a sud­den-death play­off to beat Cristie Kerr on Sun­day for the LPGA Texas Shootout ti­tle in sub­ur­ban Dal­las.

Haru was the last woman stand­ing on a bru­tally windy day that turned into even more of a marathon as she and Cristie both parred the first five play­off holes — all played at Las Coli­nas Coun­try Club’s par-five 18th hole.

As they re­turned for one more time be­fore dark­ness fell, Haru gave her­self an ea­gle chance and tapped in from inches for the birdie. She then watched as Cristie’s birdie at­tempt from out­side 10 feet slid by.

“I’m so happy to win again. I’m so ex­cited,” said Haru, who cap­tured her third LPGA crown, to go with the Women’s Aus­tralian Open and Swing­ing Skirts LPGA Clas­sic ti­tles she won last year.

She had to dig deep to do so on a day when the scor­ing av­er­age was more than five strokes over par thanks to winds gust­ing up to 60kmph.

Haru started the day with a twostroke lead and did well in the con­di­tions to fin­ish the front nine in even par af­ter one bo­gey and one birdie. She led by five head­ing into the back nine, but she bo­geyed 10 and 11, and dropped two more shots at 14 and 16.

She made a 12-footer to sal­vage a dou­ble-bo­gey at 17, but that left her a stroke be­hind Cristie who had made the only birdie of the day at the par-three 17th.

Af­ter Cristie had com­pleted her three-over 74 for a three-un­der par to­tal of 281, Haru birdied the 18th for a five-over 76 that forced the play­off.

“I had a great come­back to even get into the play­off,” Cristie said. “I had her on that sec­ond play­off hole when I was be­hind the green, and I just made an er­ror and you can’t do that in play­offs.

“You have to take ad­van­tage of when you have the chance, and I didn’t do that, so I lost.”

The top two fin­ished reg­u­la­tion two strokes in front of Amer­i­can Jes­sica Korda, whose two-over 73 gave her a one-un­der to­tal of 283 — the only other un­der par to­tal for the week.

South Korea’s Park Sung-Hyun was fourth af­ter a 74 for 284.

World No 2 Ryu So-Yeon had the best week­end (68-75) of any­one in the field —but her share of ninth didn’t come close to the first or sec­ond place fin­ish she needed to have a chance of top­pling Ly­dia Ko from the num­ber one rank­ing.

Third-ranked Ariya Ju­tanu­garn of Thai­land also had a shot at un­seat­ing Ly­dia with a vic­tory this week, but fin­ished along­side So-Yeon on 286 — nei­ther player able to take ad­van­tage af­ter Ly­dia with­drew from the tour­na­ment on Sat­ur­day with an eye in­fec­tion.

AFP PIC

Haru No­mura with the tro­phy af­ter win­ning the LPGA Texas Shootout at Las Coli­nas Coun­try Club on Sun­day.

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