Kim Saiki won for the first time in her 12 years on the LPGA Tour, shooting a 1-under-par 71 and overtaking Rosie Jones by four strokes at the Rochester LPGA yesterday in Pittsford, N.Y.
"Oh yeah, got the monkey off my back!" said Saiki, a 38-year-old who's been a runner-up four times since joining the tour in 1992. "It's just an incredible feeling."
Saiki finished 14-under 274. In a thrilling final round, Jones went ahead three times before a decisive swing at the par-4 14th, when she three-putted from 18 feet for a double bogey while Saiki curled in a five-footer for birdie.
Jones shot a 74 to drop back into a tie for second with Mi Hyun Kim (72) of South Korea, a runner-up here in 2002 who picked up her 10th top-10 finish this year.
Annika Sorenstam managed only a 73 and fell into a tie for seventh.
"I was very calm," Saiki said. "I was hitting the ball so solid. My tempo, my rhythm was so good. I had a lot of confidence."
Jones, a 13-time tour winner, took off the last three weeks with a neck injury. At 44, she has never won a major and will try to become the oldest U.S. Women's Open champion next weekend at Orchards Golf Club in South Hadley, Mass.
"I wouldn't want to peak too early," she joked.
* CHAMPIONS TOUR: Craig Stadler shot an 8-under 64 to win the Bank of America Championship in Concord, Mass., giving him a victory on the same day his son, Kevin, won on the minor league Nationwide Tour.
Stadler was getting updates on Kevin's round throughout the day. After sinking a birdie on the 18th hole to finish at 15-under 201, Craig Stadler went into the scorer's trailer and watched as Kevin won the Lake Erie Charity Classic on the fourth playoff hole.
The only other time that a father and son are believed to have won pro tournaments on the same day was March 28, 1999, when David Duval won the Players Championship on the PGA Tour and Bob Duval won the Emerald Coast Classic on the senior circuit.
"I was just a wreck out there watching Kevin all day. I wasn't paying attention to my game," Craig Stadler said. "That's probably why I played well."