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Recari Drives Away with Kia Classic in Playoff


Starting the final round of the Kia Classic with a two-stroke lead, Beatriz Recari needed to overcome a 2-over 74 and two holes of a sudden-death playoff with South Korean I.K. Kim to earn her first win on the LPGA Tour since the 2010 CVS/Pharmacy LPGA Challenge.

The victory for the 25-year-old from Pamplona, Spain, was worth $255,000.

Kim, a four-time LPGA winner, shot a 1-under 71 to tie Recari at 9-under 279, forcing the playoff at a sun-drenched Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad, Calif.

After going bogey-free through the first 59 holes, Recari bogeyed the par-3s at the sixth and 11th holes. Her only birdie Sunday came at the par-4 16th.

Recari could have won the tournament in regulation, but she carded her third bogey of the day on the 18th with only her second three-putt of the tournament.

On the first overtime hole, the tough par-4 18th with its water-guarded right side and narrow, rolling green, Recari and Kim both bogeyed. The next time down Aviara's closer the two players hit their approaches to the fringe on the right and set up the ending.

Hitting first, Kim just slid her birdie attempt by the hole. Recari then stepped up and rolled her ball into the cup.

Recari, her face tense throughout the back nine, burst into tears. "It was hard down the stretch. I can't think right," she said at greenside. "I think of my family . . . my coach. I'm so happy I got my second win."

Thailand's Pornanong Phatlum shot a 68 to tie for third at 280 with Americans Mo Martin (69) and Cristie Kerr (70).

Australia's Karrie Webb, playing in the final group with Recari and starting two strokes back before Sunday, had a 74 to end up in sixth at 7-under 281 with Americans Jane Park (71) and Lizette Salas (72).

No. 1-ranked Stacy Lewis shot a 73 to finish at 282 with three others.

Paula Creamer, who got into contention after opening with rounds of 69, 68 and 71 and was just two strokes behind Recari at the start of Sunday, closed with a 77.

For complete scoring, visit http://www.lpgascoring.com/public/Leaderboard.