Stanford prevails in dramatic Singapore playoff

By 26 February 2012 08:46

American Angela Stanford on Sunday won the HSBC Women's Champions tournament in Singapore after prevailing in a dramatic four-way playoff for the title.

It was the fifth career LPGA Tour title for the 34-year-old Texan and the first time that an American had won the $1.4-million event at the Tanah Merah Country Club's par-72 Garden Course.

"To be the first American to win here is pretty special. I still feel like I am dreaming," said Stanford.

The gritty American had to call on all her experience and resilience to hold off South Korea's 19-year-old Jenny Shin who threw down the gauntlet all the way to the third playoff hole.

Stanford also had to cope with a thunderstorm that halted play for more than an hour just before her playing group was about to tee off at the 18th hole in regulation play.

"The rain delay was tough because you are the only three golfers left," she said.

The trophy and winner's cheque of $210,000 was finally Stanford's to take when she saved par at the third playoff hole after Shin failed to make a par putt.

China's Feng Shanshan was eliminated after the first playoff and South Korea's Choi Na Yeon went out in the second.

All four of them had finished 10-under for a total of 278 after the regulation 72 holes.

"It was such a long day. All day I made these amazing par putts. I am just happy to be standing here," said Stanford.

"I just kind of started thinking about home and everybody there, it's pretty cool. It's a big deal, it's pretty cool," she added in a voice choked with emotions.

World number one Yani Tseng, bidding to win here for the first time, was in contention until her form took a dip in the back nine.

Tseng had been cruising as she reeled in five birdies in the front nine including one at the ninth hole to be within one shot of then outright leader Shin when disaster struck the five-time Major champion at the par-4 10th hole.

Tseng double-bogeyed the 10th hole and appeared to lose her momentum in the final stretch, managing just one one more birdie putt at the par-3 11th hole and another unfortunate bogey at the 14th.

She finished the tournament nine-under 279 after posting a 69 in the final round.

"Sometimes you get a bad bounce on this golf course, sometimes you do get it good, this is a tough course," said the 23-year-old from Taiwan.

"I was very close today, I just needed a little more luck on the back nine.

Tseng nearly scored an eagle at the par-four 17th hole with her second shot only to see the ball kiss the lips of the cup and skid out.

"I do feel disappointed because I didn't win this tournament. I was close these two years, I played great on the front nine but hopefully next year I won't disappoint."

The next LPGA event takes place in Phoenix, Arizona from March 15-18.

Source: AFP