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Eggeling captures L.A. women's title

Dale Eggeling says she never thought about winning the Los Angeles Women's Championship until she sank the decisive putt.

"The whole thing snuck up on me," Eggeling said Sunday after making a 15-foot birdie putt on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff with Hiromi Kobayashi of Japan to win the rain-shortened event. "I didn't think I had a chance."The tournament at the 6,276-yard, par 36-36-72 Oakmont Country Club was shortened from 54 to 36 holes because heavy rain Saturday wiped out what was supposed to be the second round.

More rain had been forecast for Sunday, but it turned out to be a pleasant, sunny day although the wind picked up in the afternoon.

Eggeling shot an even-par 72 in the first round, leaving her five strokes behind Kobayashi entering the final round. On Sunday, she completed a 3-under-par 69 more than an hour before Kobayashi finished, and there were several golfers on the course who had opportunities to finish with better scores than Eggeling's 141 total.

None did.

In fact, after bogeying four holes on the back side, Kobayashi need-ed a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th to give her a 74 and force the playoff.

The pair played the 18th again, and Kobayashi hit her third shot into a greenside bunker. She left her approach shot short of the green and her putt from the fringe didn't come close.

Eggeling, meanwhile, hit a sand wedge about 15 feet from the hole and sank the winner.

"I can't describe it. I cried when I made that putt," she said.

The win was worth $97,500 from the purse of $650,000 in the third LPGA tournament of the year. Kobayashi earned $60,510 for finishing second.

Eggeling, who birdied the 14th and 15th holes before parring the final three holes, recorded just the third sub-70 round of the tournament.

The others were a first-round 67 by Kobayashi that gave her a three-shot lead over five golfers entering the final round, and a 69 on Sunday by Cindy Figg-Currier, who finished two strokes off the pace.

Kobayashi, 35, had an up-and-down round Sunday with four bird-ies and six bogeys.