It was never going to be easy for Stephanie Meadow at the fourth annual Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic on the Symetra Tour, and so it proved, even though she took a three shot lead into the final day.
Stephanie Meadow / Image courtesy of Symetra Tour
Meadow, who went out in the final group, surprisingly found herself three behind early in her round as tour rookie Eun Jeong Seong (Republic of Korea) blitzed the field and was six under for the day through seven holes, leaving everyone in her wake.
Mentally that was tough to take but Meadow clawed her way back and after ten straight pars she bagged four birdies alongside two bogeys between the 11th and the 17th holes. Standing on the 18th, needing par to win, unfortunately she took bogey to take the tournament to extra holes and all in all it took 76 holes with Eun Jeong Seong eventually walking away the victor, claiming her first professional win.
For Meadow, it was the second time she found herself in a playoff this season. The first was at the IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino Resort & Spa when she buried a 40-foot putt to win on the first playoff hole.
“Wish I had that again,” Meadow said laughingly. “I just made a couple mistakes, but made some great putts out there to get myself back in it. It was such a hard hole to have a playoff on because I was right between a 5-iron and a 4-hybrid. She made a great birdie.”
Coming out on the other side of things this time around stings, but also leaves Meadow feeling confident about what is to come. The performance marked the seventh top-10 finish for the former University of Alabama four-time First Team All-American.
“I played great, made really great decisions and it was way better than my last three weeks,” said Meadow, who shot 1-under par today. “I just have to take the positives and keep rolling with it.”
After the trophy presentation Seoung still could not believe she had won.
“I didn’t think about winning to start the day, just focused on my goal,” said Seong. “I’m not feeling anything yet because I don’t know what a champion is supposed to feel. I know that I won, but the feeling has not come to me.”
To start the final round, Seong was tied for sixth at 7-under par, four shots behind Meadow. That deficit quickly disappeared when she carded five birdies, an eagle and only one bogey to record a 6-under par 30 going out.
“I started very nice and didn’t think about my score, not about being 13-under,” said Seong, who held the solo advantage when she made the turn.
From there, Seong added a birdie on No. 14 before back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 17 and 18 capped a 5-under par 67 afternoon.
“Just very nervous, but still had a chance and I just took my chance,” Seong said. “First playoff hole, I was very nervous with my tough chip. After two playoff holes I thought, ‘Just second, if I lose it’s just second,’ and not nervous.”
The two exchanged pars over the first three playoff holes. On the fourth effort, Seong hit her tee shot to 10 feet. Once Meadow missed her birdie putt from just off the green, it was Seong’s tournament for the taking and she redeemed herself from the earlier bogey.
After turning pro late last year and making just her seventh Symetra Tour start, Seong finds the winner’s circle for the first time.
“I think I just start new because I am a professional now and then I have to recover every tournament,” Seong said. “When I was an amateur, I was playing very hard and would just hit. If I hit bad it’s okay because I am not pro, but now I am pro and I want to learn from my play.”
VOLVIK RACE FOR THE CARD STANDINGS
Following the 12th tournament of the 2018 Symetra Tour season, the Volvik Race for the Card saw a good amount of shifting within the top-10 with Meadow moving to #2 and tightening her grip on an LPGA Card for next season.
The win and $22,500 winner’s cheque launched Eun Jeong Seong 20 spots up the rankings to No. 6, having earned $42,281 through seven events played. Here is a look at the current top-10 heading into the Fuccillo Kia Classic of NY from July 27-29 at the Capital Hills of Albany:
Dottie Ardina (Laguna, Philippines) – $59,672 Stephanie Meadow – $52,443 Jenny Haglund (Karlstad, Sweden) – $49,751 Isi Gabsa (Munich, Germany) – $48,278 Ruixin Liu (Dalian, China) – $42,355 Eun Jeong Seong – $42,281 Elizabeth Szokol (Winnetka, Illinois) – $40,274 Stephanie Kono (Honolulu, Hawaii) – $39,248 Karen Chung (Livingston, New Jersey) – $37,521 Vicky Hurst (Melbourne, Florida) – $35,773