Robbins' chip falls short
Her chip shot on No. 18 stopped a foot short of the cup.
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
VIENNA -- Kelly Robbins knew she was down to her last hope. There was no holding back.
If she were going to have a chance at winning her first tournament in more than three years, she had to birdie the 18th hole Sunday at Squaw Creek Country Club.
Otherwise, Mi Hyun Kim, who held a one-shot lead, would win the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic, and Robbins would be left to ponder her golfing fate.
Sitting 151 yards out at the par-4 412-yard hole, Robbins selected a 7-iron. She reared back, swung through and watched her ball sail wildly left into the green-side gallery, leaving her a short chip for birdie.
"I knew I had to make 3," said Robbins. "I love those situations. This time, I just didn't do it."
Robbins' ensuing chip stopped 1 foot short of the cup, and she tapped in for par to finish 13-under 203, one shot behind Kim.
"I was surprised it went as far as it did," Robbins, 32, said of her chip, which would have forced a playoff.
"I knew I handled step number one [the chip], and I was at the mercy of the green conditions," she said. "I don't know if I could put 10 balls there."
Robbins, a native of Mt. Pleasant, Mich., failed to win for the sixth time when taking a one-shot lead into the final round. Her runner-up finish did win her $91,000.
"Obviously it's a little disappointing, just because anytime you go into the final day with a one-shot lead, you'd like to play well enough to win," Robbins said.
The problem for Robbins, who played the final round in 1-under 71, she wasn't making enough shots that would allow her to pull away.
"I was decent on the front," said Robbins, who had two birdies in the first nine holes. "I just didn't get the ball close enough to have good runs [at the pin]. And the runs I did have, I didn't make."
Robbins took a two-stroke lead with a birdie at the par-3 ninth hole, but she fell into a tie with Kim at the 11th when she hit into the sand and made bogey.
"I was in between clubs a lot today," Robbins said.
"I had a little adrenaline going and I was trying to control my swing."
Kim pulls into tie
Kim tied Robbins at the 11th when she hit an 8-iron 108 yards to 2 feet and birdied the par-4 hole.
"There was still a lot of golf left," Robbins said. "I wasn't concerned at all. We were still even. I was like, 'OK, the game is on. No more goofing off. Let's see what we can do.' "
Robbins and Kim remained at 13-under until the 17th where Kim made the birdie that won the tournament.
"I knew one or two putts coming in would make the difference," said Robbins, who failed to record a birdie on the back. "We were not making many mistakes, but we weren't knocking the pins down, either."
Needed a birdie
Trailing by one stroke, Robbins would have had to birdie the final hole to stay in contention for her first tourney win since January 1999, when she finished first at the HEALTHSOUTH Inaugural.
"Overall, I was pleased," Robbins said, "but I was licking my chops and hoping to play better today."
On her second shot at the 18th, Robbins was in between clubs again, deciding on the 7-iron that she pulled left. Kim got a par to capture her fourth career victory.
"I was very, very happy to be in the position I was today," Robbins said. "There were emotions stirred up that I haven't felt in a while.
"Maybe in the next few weeks," she added, "I'll put myself in that position again."