Published September 09, 2012
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Paula Creamer and Jiyai Shin played until dark, and still couldn't break their deadlock in the Kingsmill Championship.
After they each parred the par-4 18th hole eight times in a playoff Sunday, darkness forced the suspension of play for the day. They will resume Monday morning on the par-4 16th hole.
Both were willing to try to play a ninth extra hole Sunday.
"It's hard when it's just us two and trying to make a decision," Creamer said. "I respect what she wants, and she respects what I want. It's difficult.
"I said, 'Well, let's go back to the tee and see.' And then we talked about it a little bit, and we were like, 'OK, let's just play.' I teed it up, and it was like, 'Oh, my goodness.' My (white-headed) driver was brighter than the golf ball sitting down there, and I'm thinking this probably isn't a good idea. I looked at Jiyai, and Jiyai said, 'No.'"
The playoff is the longest between two players in LPGA Tour history, breaking the mark of seven set in Cristie Kerr's victory over Seol-An Jeon in the 2004 LPGA Takefuji Classic. Jo Ann Prentice won the longest playoff overall, taking the 1972 Corpus Christi Civitan Open on the 10th extra hole.
"It just was really long tough day, but it will be good experience for us," Shin said. "And well, first couple holes of the playoff I was really, really nervous, but after that I started getting comfortable with it, the playoff. It's just like so weird. But we're coming back tomorrow, so hopefully play because we have to go to England for the British Open."
Creamer took a one-stroke lead into the final hole of regulation, but three-putted — missing a 5-footer for par — for a bogey to fall into the playoff. Creamer finished with an even-par 71, and Shin shot a 69, leaving them tied at 16 under on Kingsmill's River Course.
They had already missed their flight to England for the Women's British Open.
"I don't think I said anything to (her caddie) Colin (Cann) until I think the seventh playoff hole," Creamer said. "I said, 'I don't think we're going to make our charter.' He said, 'No, I don't think so. It leaves in 20 minutes or something.' It wasn't like we were thinking British, British, British, but yeah, we want to get there, too."
The winner will extend Kingsmill's major champion vibe. All previous LPGA Tour winners at Kingsmill have won majors. Creamer won the 2010 U.S. Women's Open, and Shin captured the 2008 Women's British Open. Both players have gone more than two years without an LPGA Tour victory.
Shin had a good chance to win on the first extra hole, but left a 6-foot birdie putt short. Both players came tantalizingly close to winning on the second playoff hole. Both got up and down for pars from bunkers on the third hole, and each two-putted for par the fourth, fifth and sixth extra holes.
Creamer sank a 5-foot putt to save par and extend the playoff on the seventh, and both two-putted the eighth time.
"It's tough to make a birdie with that back pin location, and we're hitting it in the same spot," Creamer said. "It's unfortunate that we couldn't change the pin or do something a little bit different."
Karine Icher (65) and Danielle Kang (69) tied for third at 14 under. Angela Stanford had a 64 — the best round of the day — match Catriona Matthew (68) at 13 under.
Creamer began the round with a two-shot lead over Shin. The American maintained that margin with birdies on the second and fourth holes, then had a double bogey on the sixth. That ended a streak of 38 holes without losing a shot and dropped her into a tie at 16 under with Shin, who birdied the second and third holes.
They made the turn tied, but Shin bogeyed the 10th and 11th holes to again trail by two. Icher, Matthew and Ai Miyazato entered the mix after starting well behind Creamer, but Icher ran out of holes, and Matthew and Miyazato made bogeys that took them out of the hunt.
Creamer and Shin battled shot for shot from the 12th hole on. Shin closed within a shot when Creamer bogeyed the 12th, then Creamer kept her lead with a brilliant up and down for par at the 13th.
Creamer birdied Nos. 14 and 16, and Shin birdied 15 and 16 to stay a stroke back.