This paper introduces an underdetermined nonlinear programming model where the equality constraints are fewer than the design variables defined on a compact set for the solution of the optimal Phasor Measurement Unit (PMU) placement. The minimization model is efficiently solved by a recursive quadratic programming (RQP) method. The focus of this work is on applying an RQP to attempt to find guaranteed global minima. The proposed minimization model is conducted on IEEE systems. For all simulation runs, the RQP converges superlinearly towards optimality in a finite number of iterations without to be rejected the full step-length. The simulation results indicate that the RQP finds out the minimal number and the optimal locations of PMUs to make the power system wholly observable.