Mexican edges Japan’s Nasa Hataoka to win Tournament of Champions in a playoff that stretched into Monday, becoming the 2nd Arkansas alumnus to win on a major pro tour in as many days
30: Length, in feet, of the birdie putt that Mexico’s Gaby Lopez sank Monday morning on the seventh playoff hole to win the LPGA’s season-opening Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Lopez, 26, outlasted Japan’s Nasa Hataoka in the seventh consecutive playing of the 197-yard, par-3 18th hole at Four Seasons Resort’s Tranquilo Golf Club. They had tied with South Korea’s Inbee Park at 13-under 271 on Sunday before Park was eliminated on the third extra hole. Lopez and Hataoka played the 18th two more times, matching pars, before darkness suspended the tournament. After they returned early Monday in 45-degree sunshine and matched pars once again, Lopez ended the drama for her second victory on the LPGA. “I proved to myself that I can win in any situation,” said Lopez, an Arkansas alumna who joined former Hogs player Andrew Landry, the American Express champion, in winning over the weekend. “My first win [2018 Blue Bay LPGA] was in the lead, and now my second win was coming from behind.” The longest playoff in LPGA history came at the 1972 Corpus Christi Civitan Open, in which Jo Ann Prentice defeated Sandra Palmer and Kathy Whitworth. The T of C featured 26 LPGA champions from the past two seasons competing in stroke play (scores) alongside 49 celebrities who competed in a modified-Stableford format for their own purse (scores).