Putter Rules At The State Farm Classic

September 01, 2007

Steinhauer nabbed her first title since the 2006 Women's British Open.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Sherri Steinhauer held off a late charge by Christina Kim for a one-stroke victory at the LPGA State Farm Classic.

The 44-year-old Steinhauer, who led after every round, finished at 17-under 271 for the four-day tournament at Springfield's Panther Creek Country Club. The title is Steinhauer's eighth in her 22 years on tour.

Kim tied for the lead briefly after holing the last of three closing birdies, a long putt from the fringe on the 18th that dropped her to 16-under.

Playing a hole behind Kim, Steinhauer answered minutes later, sinking a long birdie putt on the par-three 17th to get to 17-under. She scrambled for par at 18 to log her first tour title since the 2006 Women's British Open. A shot from the bunker flew into the fringe, but Steinhauer sank the putt to grab the tournament's $195,000 top prize.

Steinhauer shot a 5-under 67 and held off a pack of players who started the final round within three strokes of the lead.

Defending champion Annika Sorenstam pulled within a stroke of Steinhauer after a chip-in eagle on the par-five 13th hole and a birdie on the par-four 16th, but got no closer. Sorenstam, playing in her seventh tournament since an April neck injury, shot a 5-under 67 in the final round to finish at 14-under.

Kim carded a 6-under 66 to post her second straight runner-up finish after tying for second at last weekend's Safeway Classic. Australian Rachel Hetherington tied with Sorenstam for third at 14-under

Top-ranked Lorena Ochoa skipped the tournament after winning three straight events to push her tour-leading total to six.