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Published: Sunday, 7/16/2006

Kim beats Gulbis in playoff to win Farr Classic

BLADE STAFF
Mi Hyun Kim shows the trophy she won after beating Natalie Gulbis in a sudden-death playoff to win the Jamie Farr Classic. Mi Hyun Kim shows the trophy she won after beating Natalie Gulbis in a sudden-death playoff to win the Jamie Farr Classic.
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South Korean Mi Hyun Kim defeated Natalie Gulbis in a sudden-death playoff on Sunday to capture the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic presented by Kroger.

Kim rolled in a clutch 18-foot putt to record a birdie on the third sudden-death hole to put the pressure on Gulbis to match it with a 10-foot putt. But Gulbis s attempt missed a few inches to the right of the cup.

"I'm always smiling. But it's very upsetting," Gulbis said after Kim knocked in the winning birdie putt.

Kim had six career victories going into Sunday s final round. She had 21 birdies during this week s event and came into the tournament ranked fifth on the LPGA money list.

Kim earned $180,000 for her win at the Highlands Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania. Gulbis takes home $106,155 for her second place finish.

"I won and I got a trophy," Kim said. "So I'm very happy."

Gulbis and Kim also were tied at 12-under after the first three rounds, but Gulbis took the lead at hole No. 4 during the final round and held it until No. 17.

Natalie Gulbis expresses disappointment after missing a 10-foot putt in sudden death to lose to Mi Hyun Kim in the Jamie Farr Classic. Natalie Gulbis expresses disappointment after missing a 10-foot putt in sudden death to lose to Mi Hyun Kim in the Jamie Farr Classic.
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Kim forced a playoff by carding six birdies in the fourth round. Kim recorded birdies at 16 and 17 to tie Gulbis at 18-under with a final round of 6-under-par 65. Gulbis birdied five of her first seven holes in the final round, but then recorded 10 pars and one more birdied to also finish at 6-under.

"I had chances," Gulbis said. "It's not like I didn't have chances."

Both Kim and Gulbis shot pars on the final hole to send it to a playoff and the pair again pared the 18th in the first sudden-death playoff round. They then matched pars on the 17th hole to force a third round playoff.

Gulbis, whose best finish was a tie for third in her five-year pro career, was ranked 14th on the money list coming into the event.

Paula Creamer, the LPGA's rookie of the year in 2005, finished third. Se Ri Pak, a four-time Farr champion, finished at 16-under-par, followed by Reilley Rankin at 12-under.

The third-round resumed at 7:30 a.m. Sunday after play was suspended at 8 p.m. Saturday to allow grounds crew to work on the rain-plagued course before dark. Just one group was able to finish the third round, while the final groups were through eight holes.

Monsoon-like thunderstorms on Friday suspended second-round play and continued to push back starting times for each round.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.



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