Japan's Momoko Ueda wins Mizuno Classic
SHIMA, Japan – Japan's Momoko Ueda won the Mizuno Classic for the second time in five seasons, beating China's Shanshan Feng with a 15-foot birdie putt on the third hole of playoff.
Ueda, also the 2007 winner in the event sanctioned by the LPGA Tour and Japan LPGA, closed with a 3-under 69 to match Feng at 16 under at Kintetsu Kashikojima.
The victory, her first since the 2009 AXA Ladies Open, was her second on the LPGA Tour and ninth on the Japan LPGA.
"I was starting to think I'd never win again," said Ueda, who earned her LPGA Tour card with her 2007 victory. "It's been a tough four years in America."
The 25-year-old Ueda earned $180,000 in the $1.2 million event.
Feng finished with a 65.
"It was my first playoff ever in my life," Feng said. "The third time we played that hole, she made a good putt to win and I feel happy for her. This was her week."
Ueda missed a chance to win in regulation when her 16-foot birdie try on the par-4 18th slid to the right of the hole.
"When I missed that birdie putt, I thought I had lost my luck to win," Ueda said. "But my caddie told me to just enjoy this and to just finish it."
On the first extra hole, Ueda missed a 5 foot birdie try to the left, while Feng two-putted from 20 feet for par.
"I really thought she was going to make that putt," said the 22-year-old Feng, the LPGA Tour's first full-status member from China. "I thought, 'Good, she gave me another chance.'"
They settled for pars on the second playoff hole, and Ueda won with her 15-footer on the third extra hole after Feng two-putted for par from 25 feet.
Ueda got a big break in regulation on the par-4 ninth when her drive ricocheted off a fan's head and bounced back into the fairway, setting up a birdie.
"The man told me he was OK and said, 'I just want to see you play. I don't have time to go to the hospital. Just do your best,'" Ueda said.
South Korea's Na Yeon Choi had a 64 — the best round of the day — to finish a stroke out of the playoff.
Scotland's Catriona Matthew (67) and Taiwan's Teresa (67) followed at 13 under, and Americans Stacy Lewis (65) and Mina Harigae (69) were another stroke back along with Japan's Sakura Yokomine (70).
South Korea's Jiyai Shin, the 2010 winner, had a 66 to tie for ninth at 10 under.