Nomura's play-off win seals first title this year

Haru Nomura of Japan with her trophy after defeating Cristie Kerr on the sixth play-off hole to clinch the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout. She had led by two strokes on Saturday, but shot a five-over 76 on Sunday to tie with Kerr on 281 at the
Haru Nomura of Japan with her trophy after defeating Cristie Kerr on the sixth play-off hole to clinch the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout. She had led by two strokes on Saturday, but shot a five-over 76 on Sunday to tie with Kerr on 281 at the end of regulation.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

DALLAS • In her first career playoff, Japanese golfer Haru Nomura beat American Cristie Kerr on the sixth sudden-death hole to take the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving, Texas, on Sunday.

The win, her third on the LPGA Tour and her first this season, came after a shaky final round.

Nomura had a two-shot lead heading into the final day, but shot a five-over 76, including bogeys on the 10th, 11th, 14th and 16th holes and a double-bogey on the 17th hole, to open the door for Kerr (74).

They finished tied at 281 for the tournament before the play-off.

"I'm so happy to win again. I'm so excited," said Nomura, 24, who captured her third LPGA crown to go with the Women's Australian Open and Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic titles she won last year.

"I like tough conditions (with winds gusting up to 65kmh), so I kept concentrating on safe shots. I wasn't looking at how Cristie played."

The 39-year-old Kerr was attempting to win consecutive tournaments after triumphing in Hawaii two weeks ago.

In the play-off, there were five matching pars before Nomura won almost 7½ hours after starting her round.

She narrowly missed an eagle, setting up a par-tap-in before winning when Kerr's 12-foot birdie chance slid left of the cup.

"It was a tough day," Kerr said. "I had a great comeback to even be able to get into the play-off. I mean, I had it; I had her on that second play-off hole when I was behind the green there and I just made an error and you can't do that in play-offs. You have to take advantage when you have the chance and I didn't do that, so I lost."

American Jessica Korda (73) finished third at 283, followed by Park Sung Hyun (74) in fourth at 284.

Lydia Ko will remain the world's No. 1 player for the 80th consecutive week, even though she was forced to withdraw because of an eye infection, because No. 2 Ryu So Yeon (75) finished tied for ninth.

Third-ranked Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand also had a shot at unseating Ko with a victory, but finished alongside Ryu on 286 after a 76 on Sunday.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 02, 2017, with the headline 'Nomura's play-off win seals first title this year'. Print Edition | Subscribe