Paula Creamer shed the title of being the best women’s golfer to not win a major, never wavering during a four-shot victory Sunday in the U.S. Women’s Open at Oakmont, Pa., and putting away a field that couldn’t match her confidence or steadiness.
Creamer made it look easy after beginning the final round with a three-stroke lead that never dipped below two shots, finishing the tournament with a 3-under 281. Na Yeon Choi of South Korea shot a 5-under 66 to tie Suzann Pettersen of Norway for second place at 1-over 285. Wendy Ward of Edwall, Wash., who started the final round three strokes behind Creamer, shot 77 and finished 11 strokes off the lead.
Limited to 40 practice shots before each round by a still-healing hyperextended left thumb that required surgery in February, the 23-year-old Creamer found the best possible way to limit the pounding on her hand: take as few strokes as possible.
Creamer, known as the Pink Panther for all-pink attire, ended with a 2-under 69, far better than the 75 she averaged during previous Women’s Open final rounds. She faded badly near the finish the last two years, and she missed the cut at last week’s Jamie Farr Classic won by Choi. But this time she was as strong as her thumb is weak.
It had to be; she punished that thumb by playing 52 holes during the final two days, 23 on Sunday, because of Friday’s rain suspension.
“I was in pain, but I was trying to do everything to not think about it,” Creamer said.
Steve Stricker defended his title, holding on for a two-shot victory in the John Deere Classic at Silvis, Ill., after leading by seven strokes.
Stricker shot a 1-under 70 in the final round to finish at 26-under 258. He edged Paul Goydos, who shot a 59 in the opening round.
Stricker entered the last round having set a 54-hole PGA Tour record and ahead by six strokes. He went up by seven after a birdie on the first hole.
Stricker had to battle the rest of the way but sealed his victory with a 6-foot birdie putt on No. 17. Goydos’ final chance ended when he hit into the water on No. 18.
Edoardo Molinari of Italy claimed his first European Tour victory, shooting a 3-over 74 to beat Darren Clarke by three shots in Scottish Open at Luss, Scotland.
Scoring was very high after a long spell of rain in the morning at Loch Lomond, where Molinari finished at 12-under 272.
Clarke, of Northern Ireland, had begun the day a shot behind Molinari but had a 76.
Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin closed with a 68 to place third at 8 under.
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