Gal wins Kia Classic with final-hole birdie
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Sandra Gal won the Kia Classic on Sunday to become the second German winner in LPGA Tour history, beating second-ranked Jiyai Shin with a 2-foot birdie putt on the final hole.
The 25-year-old Gal, a former University of Florida player, made the winning putt after Shin's 5-foot birdie attempt caught the right edge and spun out.
Gal closed with a 2-under 71 to finish at 16-under 276 on the Industry Hills Golf Club course at Pacific Palms. She set up the winning birdie with a wedge shot on the par-5 18th.
Tina Fischer is the only other Germany champion. She won the 2001 Asahi Ryokuken International.
Shin, an eight-time winner on the LPGA Tour, finished with a 73.
Cristie Kerr shot a 66 to tie for third with I.K. Kim (70) at 11 under.
Top-ranked Yani Tseng (67) and Na Yeon Choi (73) were 9 under, and Michelle Wie (70) was another stroke back along with Marcy Hart (65) and Mindy Kim (71).
Shin took a one-stroke lead over Gal into the final round, but dropped two strokes back with three bogeys on the front nine. The South Korean star pulled even on the par-3 13th, making a birdie while Gal had her lone bogey of the day.
Shin took a one-stroke lead with a birdie on the par-3 15th, and Gal countered with a birdie on the par-4 16th to set up the finish. On 18, Gal's wedge shot hit past the hole and spun back, nearly going in the hole.
Gal earned $255,000 in the tournament, the tour's first event in the Los Angeles area in six years.