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Golf - 24. February 2008.

Creamer's Act Of Piracy Steals Fields Title


Tim Maitland in Oahu, Hawaii


Paula Creamer snatched a dramatic victory at the Fields Open overcoming a two-shot deficit with three holes left to beat Korea's Jeong Jang by a single shot.

golfpaulacreamernicklahamge.jpg
photo Nick Laham/Getty Images


The 21-year-old, characteristically clad in pink shirt, pink hat and a pink diamante skull-and-crossbones belt buckle, clutched her red-hot putter with her pink-painted nails to drop her fluorescent pink ball into the hole with birdie putts on each of the last three greens.

The young American, whose pirate motif extended to her earrings, turned to her pink-accessorized caddie Colin Cann to mouth "wow!" after sinking a five-footer on the 18th green to snatch the silverware from "JJ", who was bidding for her first victory since mid 2006.

"That flight to Singapore just got a whole lot shorter!" she declared the moment she entered the victor's press conference.

Still croaking after days of illness, Creamer had been worrying all week about what today's (Monday's) trip for this week's HSBC Women's Champions would do to her health.

"I'm ready for that flight! I'm going to be awake the whole time. That was a great finish! How everything unfolded in the last five holes; there were a lot of birdies being made. It was fun. It was a great, great finish! I will always remember this finish," said Creamer, who shot a final round 66 to finish 16 under par for the tournament for the fifth win of her LPGA career..

JJ, who'd lived up to Creamer's sartorial challenge by sporting floral-patterned Capri pants with a matching splash on her shirt, seemed to have victory in her grasp after back-to-back birdies on the 14th and 15th holes opened up a two-stroke advantage. In the end, she admitted, she couldn't match the Pink Panther's purple patch down the stretch.

"I had a great feeling and I know I can do it, but someone else was better than me. She had a really good feeling with the putter. I never thought "this is mine" because she kept trying and trying and all through the back nine she was only missing by this much," said the 2005 Women's British Open winner holding her thumb and forefinger fractionally apart, before admitting that for most of the round she had no idea where Creamer's ball was..

"I don't know how she can hit that ball. It's so hard to see the pink. I can't even find it in the air, but she's good with it."

Lindsey Wright sealed the best finish of her LPGA career by claiming third place. The Australian, whose previous best was fourth at last year's McDonalds LPGA Championship, carded three birdies in her last five holes for a five-under-par final round and a 14-under-par total 202 to cap four weeks of contending – at the two Australian Ladies European Tour events and at last week's SBS Open.

Annika Sorenstam never quite got into the frame for back-to-back victories, making uncharacteristic errors for a double bogey at the 10th and a bogey on the par-five 14, which effectively cost her four shots on the leaders. Four birdies kept her in contention on what she described as a "rollercoaster" of a back nine, but when a birdie putt slipped past the hole on 17 her challenge was over. A final-round 68 still gave her sole possession of fourth place.

Song Hee Kim, who started the day one shot off the lead, posted a four-over-par 76. Local heroine Michelle Wie only just avoided the ignominy of posting the worst score of the day. Shaky from the off, Wie ruined her day with a double and triple bogey in the space of three holes at the end of her first nine.

"I'm rusty in tournament play. I'm going to have good rounds and bad rounds," she said, after signing for a six-over-par 78 that left her tied for last place among the players who made it into the final round.

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