Christine Song bests Isabelle Boineau in playoff to win 2013 Guardian Retirement Championship

California native bests France's Boineau in Symetra Tour event at Sara Bay

jdill@bradenton.comApril 29, 2013 

MANATEE -- Christine Song faced the shot two previous times.

And on each attempt, her efforts flew past the pin and forced a defensive putt on a downhill line at Sara Bay Country Club's par-5 18th hole.

So given a third chance to improve, Song made sure she didn't airmail her wedge shot past the pin again.

Consequently, the Fullerton, Calif., native gave herself about a 9-foot birdie putt. Song canned it, and subsequently made it into the winner's circle for the first time since 2010 when she won back-to-back on the LPGA Symetra Tour.

"I thought it was into the wind, but apparently it wasn't," said Song about the approach shot into 18 from roughly 90 yards. "Because the third time, I just hit the same club because I was hitting extra with the same club and it ended up being OK."

Song's victory at the $100,000 Guardian Retirement Championship earned her $15,000, but it wasn't easy.

She needed two sudden-death playoff holes to defeat France's Isabelle Boineau, who recovered from a dastardly triple-bogey on the second hole to reel off three straight birdies on the back nine to right the ship.

"I was a little nervous, and I caught it clean, too clean," said Boineau, who bladed a bunker shot into an unplayable lie and repeated the same thing to make a bogey on the 17th hole. "It was almost good; it was just a tad clean."

Both players bogeyed the par-5 17th, before drama unfolded on the tournament's final hole.

Song and Boineau reached the green in regulation, with

Song misfiring on her birdie attempt. That left the door open for Boineau, who needed to convert her 20-footer to force a playoff.

She did precisely that, burying the ball in the center of the cup.

Song and Boineau each parred the first playoff hole, before returning to the 18th for a third straight time would end things.

Boineau left her approach shot on the front portion of the green, and gave a good run on her 33-footer but it did not drop.

Meanwhile, Song had a short-range effort and learned from Boineau's missed birdie attempt on the second playoff hole that it was just a left edge line.

"Isabelle had the same line on the last hole, a little bit longer, though, the second time we went up," said Song.

Now Song is one-third of the way to her goal: winning three times this year to earn an automatic promotion to the big leagues of women's professional golf, the LPGA Tour.

She played the main circuit in 2010 conditionally, and had full-time status the last two years.

"It's just all a process, and it'll eventually get together," Song said.

Jettisoning her trip to the lead was Boineau's mishap on No. 2 coupled with an eagle on the par-4 fifth hole from 177-yards with a 5-wood.

From there, Song built a commanding four-shot lead before Boineau's charge with birdies on Nos. 11-13 helped set the stage for the theatrics on No. 18.

IMG Academy alum Natalie Sheary shared third place with Boca Raton's Jaye Marie Green and Canada's Sue Kim. The trio had 2-under par 214 totals, with Sheary recording the lowest round on Sunday with a 69.

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