5 Things: Recari outlasts Kim in Kia Classic playoff
For Her 2011: Spanish Spice
Golfweek For Her: Spanish spice with Beatriz Recari, Belen Mozo, Azahara Munoz and Maria Hernandez
It took two extra holes on Sunday evening at the Kia Classic, but Beatriz Recari earned her second career LPGA victory with a birdie on her third trip down Aviara Golf Club’s par-4 18th hole.
Here are 5 Things to know from the Kia Classic in Carlsbad, Calif.:
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1. THIRD TIME IS A CHARM: Recari held the third-round lead at the Kia Classic, but gave up her two-shot advantage as the final round wore on. She had three bogeys and one birdie in her final-round 74. The leaderboard fluctuated throughout the day, but I.K. Kim was the only other player left at 10 under as she made her way down 18 in the penultimate group.
Kim struggled with her putting late in the round, and bogeyed Nos. 11, 12 and 13. She birdied Nos. 15 and 16 to remain in contention, but missed an 8-footer for par at No. 18 to drop to 9-under 279 for the tournament.
When Recari also bogeyed the 18th to finish at 279, the two players were driven back to the 18th tee to play off. They hit nearly identical approach shots to the left fringe, and both bogeyed from there. Recari holed a birdie putt from the right fringe on the second playoff hole to win. Her LPGA playoff record now stands at 1-0-0.
Recari also won the 2010 CVS Pharmacy LPGA Challenge. She was runner-up to fellow Spaniard Azahara Munoz in the Rookie of the Year race in 2010. Recari made the cut in all 27 LPGA events in which she played in 2012.
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2. ANOTHER NEAR-MISS: Kim has three career LPGA victories but has gotten the most publicity in the past year for the missed one-and-a-half footer that cost her the 2012 Kraft Nabisco Championship. She hasn’t won since the 2010 Lorena Ochoa Invitational, but seemed likely to break the streak in Carlsbad.
Kim put herself in contention with a second-round 67. It bumped her from T-26 to a share of fourth. She had 25 putts in that round.
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3. UNCHARACTERISTIC FOR NO. 1: Newly named World No. 1 Stacy Lewis had an uncharacteristic close on Sunday. Lewis began the day in a tie for fifth, but birdied three of her opening four holes. She also made birdie at No. 10 – but it was her last of the day.
Lewis double-bogeyed the 11th, then bogeyed the 14th. She nearly put her approach in a water hazard right of the 18th green, which resulted in a double bogey at the closing hole.
Lewis’ final-round 73 was her highest round of the week and bumped her to T-9. It’s her fourth consecutive top-10 finish this season. She won her past two starts.
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4. TOO MANY BOGEYS FOR CREAMER: Another American tumbled down the leaderboard after reaching the back nine on Sunday.
Creamer was tied for third at the beginning of the third round, but began to slide with bogeys at Nos. 5 and 8 on the front nine. She made back-to-back birdies at Nos. 9 and 10, but bogeyed each of the next five holes.
Creamer opened the week with rounds of 69-68, but dropped to T-17 with her final-round 77. Her third-place finish at the HSBC Women’s Champions in March still stands as her best this season.
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5. SHORT SHOTS: Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum was one of the biggest movers on Sunday. She shot a final-round 68 to move from T-14 to T-3. . . . Lizette Salas, a rookie in 2012, finished T-6 at the Kia Classic for her second consecutive top-10 finish, and her third this season. . . . Gonzaga sophomore Alice Kim missed the cut with rounds of 77-89. She earned a spot in the tournament by winning the UC Irvine Invitational.