Oakmont, PA (Sports Network) - Paula Creamer played the final 23 holes of the U.S. Women's Open at two-under par Sunday, more than enough to earn her first major championship.
Creamer closed with a two-under 69 and was the only player to finish in red figures at Oakmont Country Club as she claimed her ninth LPGA Tour title. She ended at three-under-par 281, four strokes clear of Na Yeon Choi and Suzann Pettersen.
"I can't even describe what I feel. It is just amazing to have my name on this trophy with some of the best players that have ever played the game," said Creamer, who collected $585,000.
The 23-year-old battled through a thumb injury, which required surgery earlier this year, and wasn't sure she'd ever golf again. In just her fourth start since then, she was a winner.
The victory was Creamer's first since she claimed the 2008 Samsung World Championship.
Choi carded the second-best round of the week, a five-under 66, to finish at plus-one. Pettersen posted a 69 to join Choi in second place.
In Kyung Kim (68) took fourth place at two-over-par 286.
The third round was completed earlier Sunday after weather problems on Friday pushed things back. The championship managed to finish on time as players went off split tees and in threesomes for both the third and final rounds.
Creamer led by three strokes starting the final round and her cushion never dipped below two.
After three straight pars to start the day, Creamer tripped to a bogey at the fourth. She came right back with an eight-foot birdie putt on the fifth to regain a three-shot lead over Pettersen.
Choi had a remarkable front nine with three birdies in a four-hole span and an eagle on the ninth to get within three at plus-one.
Creamer two-putted for birdie on the ninth and headed to the back nine at two- under. She parred the first two holes around the turn and was three clear of Brittany Lang.
At the long par-five 12th, Creamer's tee shot stopped near the lip of a fairway bunker, where she could just pitch back to the fairway. She still had 300 yards to the hole and played her third down the fairway.
On that shot, Creamer winced in pain as she hit the ground hard with her fairway-wood. She calmed herself, but only managed to chip to 45 feet with her fourth.
Creamer then two-putted for bogey to slip to minus-one.
She fought back with a 15-foot birdie putt on the 14th. If that birdie didn't seal the victory, her approach shot to the 15th surely did. It stopped within three feet of the hole. Creamer kicked that in for birdie to move four clear of the field at minus-three.
Creamer could have extended her lead on 16 and 17, but was unable to convert. On both greens, she had no more than 10 feet for birdie, but settled for two- putt pars.
"After I made that bogey [on 12], that was the key moment for myself," Creamer said. "Once I hit a good shot on 13, then made birdie on 14 and 15 and had a good look on 16, I kind of felt it was just meant to be."
At the last, she knocked her second some 35 feet left of the hole and calmly two-putted for the victory.
"I wanted to shoot one-over [par] every day and I thought that would have a chance to win," Creamer said. "We had a game plan and stuck to it. I made some great putts. I think that was the difference, I made so many key putts when I had to."
The hard-fought win had to help erase some of the pain from the last two Women's Opens. Last year, Creamer fell out of contention with a third-round 79. In 2008, she closed with a 78 to end at minus-three. Those poor rounds left her tied for sixth both times.
While playing 52 holes in less than 36 hours due to Friday's weather delay, Creamer hit 23 of the last 28 fairways and 27 of the final 36 greens in regulation.
For the week, Creamer was third in putts per round, averaging 30.25 for the four rounds.
Choi looked like the player to beat early on. She had a remarkable front nine with three birdies and an eagle at No. 9, getting to plus-one around the turn.
Choi stumbled to a bogey on the 13th, but got that shot back with a birdie on No. 17. She closed with a par at the last to share second with Pettersen.
Pettersen birdied two and seven in the group ahead of Creamer to get to plus- one. But she faltered to a bogey at eight for the third straight round.
The 29-year-old dropped another shot on 10. She parred 11 through 15 and missed several makable birdie putts in that stretch. Pettersen did fight back with birdies on 16 and 18 to share second with Choi.
Jiyai Shin (68), Lang (69) and Amy Yang (71) shared fifth at three-over 287.
Women's world No. 1 Cristie Kerr posted her second straight 75 to end at plus- nine, which left her tied for 17th.
NOTES: 2009 champion Eun-Hee Ji closed with a two-over 73 to share 39th at plus-15...Song-Hee Kim's final-round 65 was the low round of the week. That helped her finish alone in 13th at plus-seven...After a week off, Ai Miyazato will defend her title at the Evian Masters.
07/11 19:38:04 ET