Golf: Refreshed Paula Creamer ready for HSBC Women's Champions title defence

Paula Creamer walks to the fourth tee during round two of the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic at the Ocean Club course  in Paradise Island, Bahamas on Feb 7, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP 
Paula Creamer walks to the fourth tee during round two of the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic at the Ocean Club course  in Paradise Island, Bahamas on Feb 7, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP 

The year 2014 has been a memorable one in many ways for golf star Paula Creamer.

Last March, the 28-year-old ended a four-year winless streak in sensational fashion by capturing the HSBC Women's Champions at the Sentosa Golf Club, holing an incredible 75-foot eagle putt to beat Azahara Munoz in a play-off. The American also ended the year on a high as she got hitched, marrying pilot Derek Heath in December.

Yet 2014 was also statistically one of her worst years on tour. She finished 22nd on the money list, her lowest ranking in 10 seasons on the LPGA Tour, missed the cut for the first time in a Major and slipped to No. 20 in the world, her lowest position since the rankings began in 2006.

But the three weeks without touching a club as she prepared for her wedding and then the honeymoon in Bora Bora and New Zealand has revitalised the popular American, known to her fans as the "Pink Panther", making her determined to defend her title at the Serapong Course when the US$1.4 million (S$1.9 million) tournament begins on March 5.

Speaking in a conference call to local media from her home in Orlando, Florida on Wednesday morning, the world No. 25 said: "It was the shortest off-season of my career in 15 years but I feel so refreshed and motivated to get my year going again.

"It was great to get away and have some time to myself but I miss golf and the daily grind that comes with it and I'm working hard and I feel my game and form is in great shape."

Her results at her opening two events of the new season have been understandably rusty given her extended break. She finished tied-53rd at the Coates Golf Championship Presented by R+L Carriers at the end of January and a week later was tied-47th at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic.

She will compete in next week's Honda LPGA Thailand event and called it the perfect preparation for her title defence in Singapore. Said the 10-time LPGA Tour winner: "It'll be a good test for my game as it has a similar set-up to the HSBC. The type of grain and the run-off area around the green. Defending a title is always a different feeling as there's added pressure but I always play good golf at Sentosa and I believe I can do it again.

"I have so many wonderful memories in Singapore and can't wait to go back again. It's going to be exciting."