LPGA notebook: Kingsmill's major champion streak will continue

SportsLPGAPGA TourKraft Foods Group Inc.Annika SorenstamHal SuttonCristie Kerr

WILLIAMSBURG — In the eight years the LPGA has played at Kingsmill, the champion has always been a major winner.

Paula Creamer and Jiyai Shin, who will resume their playoff on Monday after darkness halted it after eight holes on Sunday, both have major championships to their credit.

Creamer won the 2010 U.S. Women's Open, her most recent victory. Shin was the 2008 Women's British Open champion.

Two-time Kingsmill champion Cristie Kerr (2005 and 2009) won the U.S. Women's Open (2007) and LPGA Championship (2010). Annika Sorenstam, who won here in 2008 before announcing her retirement, has seven major titles to her credit.

Kingsmill's 2007 champion Suzann Pettersen also won the LPGA Championship that year. Karrie Webb won at the Kraft Nabisco the same year she won at Kingsmill in 2006, and has seven major titles.

Five-time major winner Se Ri Pak won at Kingsmill in 2004. Grace Park, who won the inaugural Michelob Ultra Open at Kingsmill in 2003, won the Kraft Nabisco in 2004.

Playoff history

Monday's playoff marks the second time a professional tournament at Kingsmill has extended to a fifth day.

Mike Donald, Hal Sutton and Tim Simpson finished the 1989 Anheuser-Busch Classic deadlocked at 16-under 268, the same scores that Creamer and Shin posted Sunday. All three parred the first two playoff holes, 16 and 17, before Sutton bowed out with a double-bogey at 18.

By then, it was dark, forcing Donald and Simpson into a Monday extension. As Creamer and Shin will, they returned at 9 a.m. to play the par-4 16th hole. Donald ended matters quickly, hitting a 7-iron approach to within seven feet and making the birdie putt. Simpson made par.

It was the first, and only, PGA Tour victory for Donald.

Tough cut

Natalie Gulbis and Angela Stanford — the only golfers to make the cut in each of the eight LPGA events at Kingsmill — were at opposite ends of the leaderboard at the conclusion of the Kingsmill Championship.

Stanford shot 64 in the final round Sunday, finishing tied for fifth at 13-under. Her best finish this year was second at the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic in August. Stanford's previous best finish at Kingsmill was tied for seventh in 2009, the last time an LPGA event was held here.

Gulbis, who has failed to make the cut in four events this year, finished 63rd at 3-over for the tournament. A fan favorite, she came off the course smiling, posing for photos and signing autographs. Her best finish at Kingsmill was in 2005, when she tied for third. Gulbis tied for seventh in 2009.

Grassy challenge

A consistent phrase during the course of the LPGA tournament was "Bermuda" — but the players weren't talking about their next vacation spot.

During the fall, the rough is Bermuda grass, which is thicker. In previous LPGA events at Kingsmill, which were held in May, the rough was rye grass.

"Just in general because it's Bermuda, the fairways aren't going to be as firm," said Christina Kim, "so they're not going to run out as much."

The course also "played soft" because of the heavy rains of the past week, including Thursday afternoon, which delayed play two hours, and a storm on Saturday night that hit after the third round concluded.

Because of conditions, lift-and-clean ball handling was implemented throughout the tournament.

"I think it's a great course, it's not just a typical resort course," Beatriz Recari said. "You definitely have to hit it solid from the tee. And then the rain, it's playing a little more wet, so you have to position in the right places on the green, too. So it was it is a very challenging course, and the greens are small and undulating, so you have to play your best, that's for sure."

Dye design

Kingsmill's River Course was designed by Pete Dye, but it wasn't the only Dye-designed course being used for a professional event this weekend.

The PGA Tour's BMW Championship was held at Crooked Stick in Carmel, Ind., where, according to a blog by the Golf Channel, he predicted 20-under par-72 would win. Dye, and his wife, Alice, have a home near the 18th fairway at Crooked Stick.

Best finish

Rookie Danielle Kang earned her first career top 10 as a professional.

Kang turned in four rounds under par to finish tied for third at 14-under. Her previous best finish as a professional was tied for 14th at the U.S. Women's Open in July.

Kang's best round of the week came on Friday, when she recorded eight birdies and a bogey. Six of those birdies came during a stellar 29 on the back nine.

She shot a 2-under 69 in Sunday's final round.

Compiled by David Teel, Andi Petrini and Ryan Gilchrest

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