Creamer wins US Women's Open by 4 shots

Updated: 2010-07-12 09:57
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OAKMONT, Pa. - Paula Creamer wondered a few months ago if she would ever play golf again the way her badly injured left thumb was hurting.

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What she couldn't have possibly guessed is she would play like this.

Creamer shed the title of being the best women's golfer to not win a major, never wavering during a four-shot victory Sunday at the US Women's Open in which she steadily put away a field that couldn't match her confidence or consistency.

Creamer started with a three-stroke lead, then never let it go below two shots during a 2-under 69 that gave her a 3-under 281 for the tournament. Na Yeon Choi of South Korea shot a 5-under 66 at a softened-up Oakmont Country Club to tie Suzann Pettersen of Norway for second place at 1-over 285.

"That question always lurked: 'How come you never won a major?'" said Creamer, whose thumb remained heavily bandaged during her post-tournament news conference. "Now we never have to get asked that question again. It's kind of a big relief off my shoulders."

Creamer wins US Women's Open by 4 shots
Paula Creamer reacts to saving par on the eighth green during the final round of the US Women's Open golf tournament at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pa., Sunday, July 11, 2010. [Agencies]

Most of all, a big relief off a hyperextended left thumb she estimates is only 60 percent healed.

Limited to 40 practice shots before each round to lessen the pounding on a thumb that was surgically repaired in March, Creamer found the best possible way to limit the discomfort: take as few strokes as possible.

The 23-year-old Creamer, known as the Pink Panther for her all-pink attire, faded badly in the late rounds of the last two Women's Opens, and she missed the cut at last week's Jamie Farr Classic won by Choi. But she was as strong at Oakmont as her thumb is weak, with earlier rounds of 72, 70 and 70.

She had to be; after all, she punished that thumb by playing 52 holes during the final two days, 23 on Sunday, because of Friday's heavy rain that slowed down some of the fastest, trickiest greens in golf and created better scores.

"I was in pain, but I was trying to do everything to not think about it," Creamer said. "It shows you how much the mental side of golf can really take over."

With Creamer's lead briefly down to two strokes, her two biggest confidence-building shots of the day might have been long, par-saving putts on No. 7 and 8 -- even as Choi was charging with the tournament's second-best round. Song-Hee Kim had a 65 on Sunday and finished 13th.

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