The dynamic duo of Cheyenne Knight and Elizabeth Szokol went three places better than they managed last year to capture the LPGA Tour’s 2023 Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational.
The pair were brilliant throughout the week, breaking the 54-hole scoring record with nine birdies on Friday before keeping their cool over a weather-disrupted final round.
Knight and Szokol posted two birdies in a relatively quiet outward half before birdies on 12 and 15, either side of the weather delay, saw the pair hold a slender one shot advantage down the final three obstacles.
Matilda Castren would soon sink a 15-foot birdie putt to draw level on 17 before Knight stabbed back immediately with a 7-footer to retake the lead. And with Castren in closest of all at the last, all Knight and Szokol could do was look away as their fate was decided by Castren’s putt slipping by the hole.
“I don’t think we could look at each other. I think we were just looking away. It was out of our hands, so we were just looking away and waiting,” said Szokol. “She hit a really good putt that just slid right by the edge. We did all we could, and we were just waiting to see, which was a bit stressful having it out of our hands.”
“Relief,” Knight laughed of her immediate winning emotion. “But just, I don’t know, pure joy I would say. You’re expecting Matilda to make that putt, and when it slid by the edge, it was just, like, ‘whoa, we did it!’
“It was hard going to the rain delay, two-shot lead coming back, and it evaporated really quickly. It was just surreal. It was, like, wow, we did it. We’ve been out here all day, but we did it. So it was just, yeah, pure joy.”
It was Knight’s second LPGA career victory after winning the 2019 Ascendant LPGA while Szokol becomes the Tour’s seventh Rolex maiden winner. Castren and Tan finished runner-up just like they did in 2022.
“I think we both played great,” said Tan. “We have good synergy on the course together. If I’m down, she picked me up, or if she was down, I picked her up every day.
“It’s been overall a really fun week. Right now it sucks. I think when I wake up tomorrow morning, I will cherish the moments that we’ve been through the last few days, and I can only choose to take on the positives.”
- Full scoring HERE