Stephanie Meadow returned her second consecutive round of level par 72 at the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout at the tough Mystic Creek Golf Club and moved herself up the leaderboard to T13th place.
Stephanie Meadow / Image from Symetra Tour
Meadow, who is supremely focused on the Volvik Race for the Card Order of Merit had been in third place overall at the start of the tournament but has now moved up to second following this weekend, where the Top 10 gain LPGA status for next season. There are three events left in the OoM with Meadow $12k approx. ahead of Stephanie Kono who is in 10th position after the weekend.
The tough course at Mystic Creek made for a difficult weekend for the Symetra Tour players with only five of them under par for the tournament so Meadow’s +3, where all the damage was done in her opening 75 (+3) was good enough for a tie of 13th place and a cheque for $2,517.
Leona Maguire battled back from a second round 76 to card 73 in the final round, with birdies on 11 and 17 cancelling out earlier bogeys and her +6 total was good enough for a top-30 spot.
At times along the way on Sunday there was some doubt, but a 1-over par 73 final round from Hyemin Kim(Seoul, Republic of Korea) secured her second career Symetra Tour title.
“I really didn’t expect this to happen,” Kim said. “I feel so amazing of course and just wish that my mom was here to see it.”
It was a shaky start for Kim on the final day as she bogeyed three of her first eight holes, with the last one of the bunch dropping her to 3-under par overall and into a three-way tie atop the leaderboard with Sandy Choi (Seoul, Republic of Korea) and playing partner Casey Danielson (Osceola, Wisconsin).
Knocked down, but not out, Kim didn’t let her mindset affect how she would respond.
“I was two shots ahead, but my start was really tough making a bunch of bogeys,” said Kim, who carded a birdie on three of the next four holes to regain a three-stroke advantage. “After No. 8, so many people were at 3-under par and I couldn’t stop thinking about not making bogey. It didn’t help me at all, but after I made birdie on No. 9 I felt more confident and started to make putts.”
From there, she never looked back and a bogey on No. 13 could not even slow Kim down. The three-shot margin would not change, as well. Brittany Benvenuto (Langhorne, Pennsylvania) came in behind Kim for a solo second finish, while Ruixin Liu (Dalian, China),Lauren Kim (Los Altos, California) and Volvik Race for the Card No. 1 Dottie Ardina (Laguna, Philippines) all tied for third at 1-under par overall.
After the trophy ceremony, Kim announced she will be donating $5,000 of her $22,500 winner’s check to LPGA USGA Girls Golf. It mirrors what she did after winning the POC Med Golf Classic last year, when Kim donated her $15,000 winnings from her first Symetra Tour victory to the program.
“I think that’s really important to the community because if there is no girls golf, then there is no future to the LPGA Tour,” Kim said. “We have to encourage more junior golfers as much as we can. I think that’s our future for sure.”
Meanwhile, a 120-player field now navigates to the Heart of Dixie for the second annual event from Sept. 21-23.
VOLVIK RACE FOR THE CARD STANDINGS
Following the 18th tournament of the 2018 Symetra Tour season, the Volvik Race for the Card saw plenty of shifting within the top-10.
The win and $22,500 winner’s checque moved Hyemin Kim up 66 spots to No. 31, having earned $28,974 through 15 events played.
Here is a look at the current top-10 heading into the Guardian Championship at Capitol Hill on the RTJ Golf Trail in Prattville, Ala. from Sept. 21-23:
Dottie Ardina – $83,171 Stephanie Meadow (Jordanstown, Northern Ireland) – $61,308 Linnea Ström (Hovas, Sweden) – $59,939 Elizabeth Szokol (Winnetka, Illinois) – $58,346 Charlotte Thomas (Guildford, England) – $57,389 Ruixin Liu – $55,124 Isi Gabsa (Munich, Germany) – $53,854 Jenny Haglund (Karlstad, Sweden) – $52,927 Pavarisa Yoktuan (Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand) – $52,454 Stephanie Kono (Honolulu, Hawaii) – $49,829