By Dave Johnson, email@example.com | 757-247-4649
9:08 PM EDT, September 9, 2012
It's been since 2010 since either multiple champion has won on the LPGA Tour. So what's one more day?
After eight playoff holes didn't change anything on the Kingsmill Championship leaderboard, Paula Creamer and Jiyai Shin will come out Monday morning to play a ninth at the River Course. At 7:40 p.m., nearly eight hours after the co-leaders had teed off, play was called because of darkness.
The last time an LPGA event at Kingsmill was decided in a playoff was in 2007 when Suzann Pettersen bested Jee Young Lee in three holes.
Creamer and Shin will meet on the 16th hole at 9 a.m. to resume their sudden-death battle. This coming after each had parred No. 18 eight consecutive times.
"Winning is always tough," Shin said. "But not like this."
After the eighth playoff hole ended at 7:32 p.m., Creamer and Shin conferred with LPGA rules official Jim Haley, who essentially said it was up to them. Creamer wanted to play, but Shin wasn't so sure. She eventually agreed, and the pair returned to the 18th tee.
But after removing her driver, Creamer put it back.
"I really wanted to play, but it's hard when it's just us two trying to make a decision," Creamer said. "I respect what she wants, and she respects what I want. When I teed it up, I said, 'Oh my goodness.' My driver, my Taylor Made, was brighter than the golf ball. And I'm thinking, this probably isn't a good idea. I looked at Jiyai, and Jiyai said no."
It's already the longest playoff between two players in LPGA history (the last was seven holes in 2010). The timing couldn't be worse — the Women's British Open begins Thursday, and both players were scheduled to leave for the United Kingdom on Sunday night.
After only two bogeys in the first three rounds, Creamer had two-plus a double on Sunday. The one that set up more than 2 1/2 hours (and counting) of playoff golf came on the 72nd hole of the tournament. All she needed to do was make a 5-foot putt for par, and she'd have had her first win on the Tour since the 2010 U.S. Women's Open.
Instead, she pulled it, dropping her to 16-under and even with Shin.
Then came the par-fest on 18, which yielded only seven birdies in Sunday's fourth round.
"We played it eight times around (with) 16 pars, that's pretty good," Creamer said. "It's tough to make a birdie with that back pin location. We were hitting in the same spot. I think I was within 10 yards on each of my drives every single time, but it's such a difficult hole from there.
"It's unfortunate we couldn't change the pin or do something different, but I guess that's learning. Next year, I'm sure, and other tournaments down the road will probably change their rules about the playoffs."
Sitting beside Creamer, Shin said, "I agree with that."
Not that each didn't have her chance. On the first playoff hole, Shin had an 8-foot putt for birdie and the championship. But she left it about two inches short. On the second, Creamer's 35-footer looked in the cup until it broke left at the last second.
On the third, both ended up in the bunker and saved par. On the fourth and fifth, both missed birdie putts from about the same distance. On the sixth, Creamer two-putted from 50 feet and Shin did the same from 20.
Creamer nearly made a memorable shot on the seventh playoff hole, but her chip from below the green missed the cup by an inch to the right. On the eighth, Creamer again had a chance to put it away, but her 15-footer for birdie and the win missed slightly to the left.
"There were a lot of people there and they wanted to see the good birdie," Shin said. "But the pin was close to the back edge, and it was really hard to (be) aggressive."
So after another night in Williamsburg, Creamer and Shin will return to the River Course. It'll be the 16th hole this time. In four rounds on the par-4 hole, Shin has two birdies, a bogey, and a par. Creamer has a birdie and three pars.
It's still a sudden-death format, but if they're still even after No. 16, they'll move to No. 17.
"It'll be interesting to see if we go back to 18 again," Creamer said.
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