Recari wins Kia Classic in playoff

Forrest Lee, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

CARLSBAD, Calif. -- They call her Iron Woman on the LPGA Tour. On Sunday, though, Spain's Beatriz Recari showed her softer side.
Recari, who earned the nickname after she made the cut in 27 events last season, kept her poise through regulation and a two-hole playoff in the final round of the Kia Classic at Aviara Golf Club. However, when she sank an 18-foot birdie putt to defeat South Korea's I.K. Kim for the tournament title, she could no longer keep her emotions in check.
"I can't think right now," Recari said as she broke down in tears. "I'm just thinking about my family, my coach, everybody that has really been with me for so long. I'm definitely more emotion than my first win."
Her second Tour win allowed her to claim $255,000 in prize money. Recari's first victory came in the 2010 CVS Pharmacy Challenge as a rookie.
She shot a 2-over-par 74 Sunday to finish with a four-day total of 9-under 279.
Kim won $156,616 for her runner-up finish.
"I had a good day, I have to say," said Kim, who shot a 71 Sunday. "Just on the back nine made a few mistakes, and reading the green was really tricky out there. But I had a chance. Everybody's the same story, but it was just one of those days."
Twice this season Recari had similar days to Kim. She came close to winning but couldn't seal the deal in earlier tournaments, finishing tied for third at the Honda Thailand event and tied for fourth at the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open in February.
At times, it almost appeared she might not win the Kia Classic, either. Recari and Kim had chances to clinch the title on the final hole in regulation, but neither managed to come through.
Kim, who has three LPGA Tour titles, missed a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 18, coming up about six feet short. Her shot for par sailed to the right for a bogey, and she dropped one shot back of Recari.
Recari failed to take advantage of the opportunity. She also three-putted on No. 18, coming up empty on a shot from 25 feet that sailed four feet past the cup. Her attempt for par lipped out right, and the bogey forced a playoff.
On the first playoff hole, back at No. 18, both players shot bogeys. But Recari prevailed on the second playoff hole, again at No. 18, pumping her fist as her birdie putt rolled toward the hole.
"I had a good feeling, but like the same as the other putts that didn't go in, the other ones went by, missed the hole, and this one went in," Recari said. "I had the same (approach) in every shot. Nothing different. And I'm always trying to do my best, and I'm just happy that it dropped in."
Said Kim, who missed a birdie putt on the second playoff hole, "It would have been great if I had won, but I played well this week and even last week I played well, so I think I'm going in the right direction and I just think I'm working on the right things. It's getting better, so I'm very excited about this season."
Recari, who didn't bogey a hole during the first three rounds, carded three bogeys Sunday, then another on the first playoff hole. Kim had four prior to the playoff, including three in a row on Nos. 11, 12 and 13.
"They were the only three bogeys that I made all week," said Recari, who fought through a sinus infection since the opening round of the tournament. "I mean, I was playing very solid and I was managing to do very good. ... I just told myself not (to) be hard on myself. I dropped shots. Everybody does. I'm human, (but I) just kind of continue and have a positive attitude."
Several players were in contention throughout the final round. Thailand's Pornanong Phatlum made a strong run for the title. Phatlum, who started the day seven shots off the lead, was tied for first before bogeying the 18th. She finished at 280, tied for third with Mo Martin and Cristie Kerr.
Hall of Famer Karrie Webb, who was two shots back to start the day, shot a 74 and tied for sixth at 281 with Jane Park and Lizette Salas.
Stacy Lewis' bid for a third consecutive tournament title was dashed on the back nine with a double bogey on No. 11 and a bogey on No. 14. On No. 18, she hit her tee shot in the water and double bogeyed the hole.

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