CARLSBAD - Beatriz Recari of Spain defeated I.K. Kim, a South Korean who lives in Rancho Santa Fe, on the second hole of a sudden death playoff Sunday to win the $1.7 million Kia Classic at Carlsbad's Aviara Golf Club at the Park Hyatt Resort.
The playoff was held on the par-4 18th hole. Both golfers bogeyed the first hole of the playoff, forcing a second hole which Recari birdied and Kim parred.
Recari received $255,000 for her second victory on the LPGA Tour. She won the CVS/Pharmacy LPGA Challenge in 2010, her rookie season. Kim received $156,616. She was seeking her first victory since the 2010 Lorena Ochoa Invitational.
"Every victory is different and this is just amazing and I can't believe it," Recari said. "It's been really hard work and it's definitely paid off and I'm really happy."
Kim said "it would have been great if I had won, but I played well this week and even last week I played well, so I think I'm going in the right direction and I just think I'm working on the right things."
The playoff was needed when Recari three-putted the 18th hole, including missing a four-foot par putt, for a bogey, putting her at nine-under-par 279 for the tournament. After playing bogey-free golf over the first three rounds, Recari also bogeyed the sixth and 11th holes during her round of a two-over-par 74.
Playing in the next to last group, Kim had taken the lead with a birdie on the par-four 16th hole after her putt for an eagle lipped out. Recari, playing in the final group, then had her lone birdie in regulation on the 16th hole, to share the lead at 10-under-par.
Kim's bogey on the 18th hole, her fourth during a round of one-under-par-71, put Recari back in the lead.
Recari began the round with a two-stroke lead over Hall of Famer Karrie Webb and three strokes ahead of Kim and Paula Creamer.
Stacy Lewis, who moved atop the Rolex Women's Golf Rankings Monday after winning the last two LPGA Tour tournaments, began the round among three golfers tied for seventh, four strokes behind Recari.
Lewis, who was seeking to become the first player on the LPGA Tour to win at last three consecutive tournaments since Ochoa won four in a row in 2008, moved into a tie for the lead by birdieing the 10th hole, then double-bogeyed the 11th.
Lewis also bogeyed the 14th and double-bogeyed the 18th for a one-over-par 73rd, finishing in a four-way tie for ninth at six-under-par 282.