It was a disappointing final round for Stephanie Meadow at the at the second annual Donald Ross Classic on the Symetra Tour.
The Jordanstown professional started her final round positively carding a birdie at her third hole but that was to be her only gain for the day as she dropped shots at her 8th, 9th, 10th and 12th holes to finish back in a tie for 38th.
Following the 11th tournament of the 2018 Symetra Tour season, which also served as the “flagship” event for the Tour, the Volvik Race for the Card saw a good amount of shifting within the top-10. Meadow is still well placed in her bid to claim back her LPGA card sitting in 7th spot on the rankings with the top 10 claiming cards for 2019.
12 shots ahead of Meadow at the top, this win was a long time coming for Stephanie Kono (Honolulu, Hawaii), who shed a few tears after a final round 3-under par 68 secured her first professional victory.
The former three-time First Team All-American performer for UCLA walked off No. 18 of the Donald Ross Course at 11-under par overall, good enough for a one shot win.
“It’s amazing and I still can’t believe I did that,” said Kono, who recorded five birdies and two bogeys this afternoon. “Such a great feeling and I’m so grateful. I was out for a while last year and just had some bad times. I’ve had such a good group of people around me that kept me believing. This is unreal, but I’m so thankful.”
Since turning pro in 2012, Kono has battled a string of back injuries that have sidelined her for months on end. Naturally, her mind channeled some negative thoughts, but the perseverance she demonstrated would not be outdone.
“It hasn’t really been easy for me since then and to be honest, I kind of doubted if this would ever happen,” Kono said. “I didn’t want that to be the end of my career and I didn’t want that to hold me back from doing what I knew I could. This is just so rewarding for me because six months ago I was sitting down and not able to move. That was the third time that happened. I can’t believe I did this six months later.”
Now a first-time champion on the Symetra Tour, Kono joins Valley Forge Invitational champion Louise Ridderstrom (Stocksund, Sweden) as the second UCLA women’s golf alumna to find the winner’s circle in 2018.
VOLVIK RACE FOR THE CARD STANDINGS
The win and $33,750 winner’s cheque launched Stephanie Kono a whopping 79 spots up the rankings to No. 6, having earned $38,388 through nine starts. Here is a look at the current top-10 heading into the Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic:
Dottie Ardina – $58,563
Jenny Haglund (Karlstad, Sweden) – $49,751
Isi Gabsa (Munich, Germany) – $46,512
Ruixin Liu (Dalian, China) – $40,175
Elizabeth Szokol (Winnetka, Illinois) – $38,869
Stephanie Kono – $38,388
Stephanie Meadow (Jordanstown, Northern Ireland) – $38,307
Karen Chung – $36,661
Vicky Hurst (Melbourne, Florida) – $34,007
Pajaree Anannarukarn (Bangkok, Thailand) – $33,067