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Playoff combatants Shin, Creamer commit to Kingsmill

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Pitches and Putts,Sports,Kevin Dunleavy

Last September in the Kingsmill Championship, winner Jiyai Shin and runner-up Paula Creamer engaged in a riveting, LPGA-record, nine-hole playoff. On Tuesday, the tournament announced both will be back for the event, which has been moved up on the LPGA calendar to May 2-5.

Other stars headed to Williamsburg next week include world No. 2 Stacy Lewis, Michelle Wie, Natalie Gulbis, Lexi Thompson, and two-time tournament champion Cristie Kerr (2009, 2005).

“We are ecstatic to announce the commitment of these extraordinary athletes,” tournament director Katherine Thigpen said in a statement. “It’s exciting to be able to attract a field to Kingsmill and look forward to seeing everyone here in just one week.”

Earlier this month, the tournament received commitments from former Kingsmill winners Suzann Pettersen (2007), Karrie Webb (2006), and Se Ri Pak (2004), in addition to world No. 4 Yani Tseng. All four players skipped last year’s event, which ended a two-year hiatus for the LPGA Tour at the famed River Course.

Shin, ranked No. 7, followed her Kingsmill win with her second major victory, the Ricoh British Open. Shin has 11 LPGA victories overall. Creamer has nine.

“I was so close last year and I think my game is in great shape right now,” Creamer said in a statement. “The golf course suits my eye and I have great memories of last September. I am ready to get back there and look forward to hopefully being in the mix again on Sunday.”

Lewis, the top-ranked American, has already won two events this year. Kerr, the only two-time winner in Kingsmill history, has 14 LPGA titles. Thompson, 18, became the youngest winner of an LPGA event two years ago when he captured the Navistar LPGA Classic in Prattville, Ala.

Last year’s tournament drew 7,762 fans for the opening round, a Thursday record for the event. Tickets are on sale now at www.thekingsmillchampionship.com. Kids 17 and under are admitted free.

Kingsmill is a AAA four-diamond resort and a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts Worldwide – a global association of the world’s finest independent luxury hotels. The facility has 422 guest rooms and suites, a 19,000-square-foot conference center, six restaurants, indoor/outdoor pools, a European-style spa, sports center, marina, and three championship golf courses, including the famed River Course which hosts the Kingsmill Championship.

Kingsmill is owned by Xanterra Parks & Resorts, the country’s largest operator of lodges, restaurants, tours and activities at national and state properties with operations at the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Zion, Crater Lake, Mount Rushmore, Rocky Mountain and Petrified Forest national parks. Xanterra also operates Windstar Cruises and the Grand Canyon Railway.

Through its environmental program, “Ecologix,” Xanterra has been recognized for its environmental leadership in the hospitality industry and is the recipient of awards from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Parks Service, Environmental Protection Agency, National Parks Conservation Association, and other worldwide, national, and state organization.

Kdunleavy@washingtonexaminer.com

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