Recari closing rookie campaign on positive note

Beatriz Recari during the third round of the 2010 LPGA Tour Championship in Orlando, Fla.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Unlike the six women who began the week fighting for the No. 1 ranking to close the season – five of whom also had a shot at Player of the Year honors – Beatriz Recari’s mug isn’t lining the entrance to Grand Cypress. That’s because her race – the Rookie of the Year race – is long over, ending decisively in Azahara Munoz’s favor as she collected nearly double the points of second-place finisher Recari.

If Recari couldn’t win the award, however, she’s just as happy to have fellow Spaniard Munoz take the honor.

“I started very slow and she was very consistent all the way through, she had very good tournaments,” Recari said. “Very very good, consistent all the year long. She deserved it.”

Recari, however, can claim something that no other rookie can this year: A win. With a dominant performance at the CVS/pharmacy LPGA Challenge, Recari became one of two first-time Rolex winners this season. Sun Young Yoo, winner of the Sybase Match Play, was the other. If third-round leader Amy Yang can hold on Sunday, she will become the third first-time winner of the season.

“I didn’t expect to win but I’m very happy that it happened,” Recari said of the CVS/pharmacy title. “I suppose that it was well deserved. I worked very hard to be here.”

Munoz exited the Tour Championship after the first cut, and Recari now is the low rookie left in the field. She is eight back of leader Yang after three rounds – and tied for 13 at 2 over – but this week she’s just shooting for a top 10.

Recari, who turned professional at the tender age of 18, has been playing professionaly for half a decade. Even though she has a win on the Ladies European Tour under her belt – at the 2009 Finnair Masters – Recari feels right at home on the rookie list.

“It was a step up for me and honestly even though this is my fifth year as a pro, I feel like a rookie because this is really where I wanted to be and so it was everything was a preparation to be here so really I’m a rookie here, testing myself whether I can make it or not,” she explained.

So far, it’s looking as if Recari will pass said test, as she is hanging tough on a difficult Grand Cypress set-up. The goal has been to play smart, and it’s paying dividends.

“The greens are so tough here, you have to be so aware of how you’re placing the ball,” she said. “Forget where the pin is, just try to get in a position where you can have decent two putts.”

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