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Recari wins LPGA Marathon Classic by one shot

The SportsXchange

SYLVANIA, Ohio -- Beatriz Recari of Spain captured the LPGA Marathon Classic on Sunday after firing a bogey-free 5-under-par 66 to finish at 17-under 267 at Highland Meadows Golf Club.

Recari held off Paula Creamer, who finished one shot behind at 16-under, to capture her second victory of the year and third for her career. She won the Kia Classic in March.

"I still can't believe it," Recari said. "I was so focused for the last two rounds to just keep cool and just focus on my game. Like Paula said, she played amazing for two days. It was really a competition."

In addition to getting her name on the trophy and a paycheck for $195,000, Recari also gets a street named after her in town, something she joked usually happens only in her home country after somebody dies.

"I'm a bit superstitious, so I don't know [how I feel about that]," she said. "I'm cool with it, though, if that happens, it would be an honor for sure."

Recari and Creamer separated themselves from the pack and went head-to-head all afternoon. The stroke-play event quickly turned into match play early on with Creamer getting birdies on Nos. 3 and 5 and Recari making birdie at Nos. 4 and 6 to stay tied at the top.

"It was back and forth, so it was a lot of fun," Recari said.

Neither player dropped a shot all day. They were never separated by more than a single stroke and made the turn knotted at 15-under.

Both made par at the first four holes of the back nine before Recari went up a shot with a birdie at the par-3 14th with an excellent tee shot.

At 16, Creamer stuck her approach three feet from the cup, while Recari faced a birdie putt from about 25 feet that she drained to keep the lead before Creamer tapped in.

"I didn't aim to make it," Recari said. "But I had a great read, I felt really good about the putt and I just hit it and the hole got in the way. It was definitely a bonus to keep the momentum."

Creamer had a look from about 12 feet on the 17th hole for birdie and to tie for the lead heading into the final hole, which she called the turning point in the round.

She missed what she described as a very difficult putt and a chance to put the pressure back on Recari.

"I hit a great shot into that hole, I just had a ridiculously hard putt for birdie," Creamer said. "I hit a great putt there and I didn't even hit the hole. If I make birdie there, it might be a different story."

Creamer had one last chance to even the tournament and force a playoff at the 18th hole.

Her third shot from the rough on the par-5 finishing hole hit just a few feet past the flagstick, but had almost no spin and rolled to the fringe about 20 feet away. Her putt slipped just past the cup.

Recari chipped to within three feet with her fourth shot at the last hole and made her par putt to secure the victory.

"I was definitely shaking a little bit [before the last putt]," Recari said. "I knew that I had to make it to win and avoid a playoff. Playoffs are always nerve-wracking and it can go either way. I said 'OK, just read the putt, put a good stroke on it and just be calm.' It went in, so I'm happy."

Creamer was bidding for her first victory on the LPGA Tour since bringing home the 2010 Women's U.S. Open over three years ago.

Despite coming up just shy, she was happy with her play this week.

"I played great, I can't be too upset with myself," she said. "I really can't take too many shots today that I would go and replay. Maybe the putt on 17 and the tee shot on 18, but I gave it all I had."

Creamer was appreciative of the heavy support she received all week from the gallery.

"I love this area," she said. "I'm so lucky to have so many great fans everywhere I go, but I think this might be the top-five most pink I've ever seen on a golf course and this is my ninth year. I tried as hard as I could for everybody."

Lexi Thompson, 18, and England's Jodi Ewart Shadoff tied for third place at 13-under. Angela Stanford and Jacqui Concolino finished in a tie for fifth at 10-under.

NOTES: Thompson carded a hole-in-one on the 14th hole after hitting a perfect 6-iron from 181 yards. The ace was already the fourth of her career. ... Meena Lee started the round tied for 48th and finished in a tie for seventh after a shooting a 9-under 62. ... The next event, and last before the Solheim Cup, is the Women's British Open, which begins Aug. 1.
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