To watch Liselotte Neumann putt when it mattered most during the final round of the Edina Realty LPGA Classic was to gape in disbelief when her 6-footer rimmed out on the second playoff hole.
Neumann had saved herself with a two-putt from 85 feet over a monster speed bump on her last hole of regulation Sunday, and she did it again at No. 18, this time from about 55 feet up a large hill in the steady drizzle that marked the day, on the first playoff hole.So when Brandie Burton, one of four players to qualify for sudden death, missed from eight feet for birdie on the second playoff hole, it seemed Neumann was one stroke away from her second victory at Edinburgh USA Golf Course in three years.
She stroked the putt cleanly and began to raise her blade in triumph. As the gallery began to cheer, the ball caught the left edge, spun around the hole and out the back side, as golf balls sometimes do.
"I don't know what happened," Neumann said later.
It didn't matter, however, because the next time Neumann stood over a putt, she made magic once again. She rolled a seemingly impossible 45-footer off a long, sloping ridge on No. 11, the third playoff hole, to grab the $82,500 winner's check and leave Burton, Carin Koch and Suzanne Strudwick awestruck - and only $39,208 richer.
"If anybody is going to make that putt, it's her," Koch said. "I thought she was going to make the one on 10, so she really deserved that one on 11."
Earlier in the soggy round, Strudwick stood in nearly the same place on the 11th green and three-putted for bogey, giving away half of what once was a two-shot lead.
"When she sank that putt, I said, `That's unbelievable,' because that's the same vicinity where I was," Strudwick said.
Neumann began Sunday five shots behind second-round leader Koch, who had set a course record with her 63 on Saturday to go to 9-under. There were 19 women between the two Swedes when the round began, and it was unthinkable that it would take three extra holes to separate them, especially after Neumann's disaster on No. 17 Saturday evening.
Trailing Koch by one shot after a 90-minute rain delay, Neumann put two shots in the water for a triple-bogey after stubbornly refusing a safe chip that would have gotten her out 1-over for the hole.