Spain`s Recari wins first US LPGA title

Danville: Spain`s Beatriz Recari captured her first US LPGA title, shrugging off difficult damp conditions and a late bogey for a one-shot victory over France`s Gwladys Nocera.

Recari, a 23-year-old in her rookie season on the US circuit, on Sunday carded a two-under 70 for a 14-under par total of 274 in the CVS/pharmacy LPGA Challenge.

Recari bounced back from a bogey at 17 with a par at the final hole that was good enough for the victory.

Nocera birdied the final hole to complete a 70 for 275.

Overnight co-leader Michelle Redman carded a 72 and was tied for third on 276 with France`s Karine Icher, who also carded a 70.

American Cristie Kerr missed a chance to overtake Japan`s Ai Miyazato for the number one world ranking, cosing with a 70 to finish tied with Wendy Ward (72) on 277.

Kerr needed to at least tie for third to take the top spot.

The win ended a 14-month global victory drought for Recari, who pocketed a 165,000-dollar first place prize.

Her last professional victory came on the Ladies European Tour at the Finnair Masters in August 2009 - when she blew a five-stroke lead on the final day but won in a playoff.

After making a two-foot putt in steady drizzle at the final hole, Recari leapt into the arms of her caddie.

The soggy weather made for tough going in a tournament that started in hot, sunny weather on Thursday.

Redman, 45 and seeking her first title since 2000, went into the final round tied atop the leaderboard with Recari and South Korea`s Ilhee Lee. But the veteran couldn`t hang on.

She fell a stroke behind when Recardi birdied the sixth, then pulled level again with a birdie at nine.

But Redman was right off the tee on 10, made a bogey and fell back again.

Lee, a rookie who nearly quit the US tour this year after missing seven straight cuts, bogeyed three of the first four holes to fall off the pace. She finished with a 78 and was tied for 15th.

Nor did Recari find it all smooth sailing.

She birdied the third but gave the stroke back two holes later with a bogey on the par-five fifth.

A birdie at six put her in front again, and she added birdies on Nos. 13 and 14.

Recari`s bogey on 17 coupled with Nocera`s birdie at the last cut the lead to won.

With Nocera standing nearby, Recari managed to avoid a playoff by two-putting from off the green at the final hole.

Bureau Report

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