Stephanie Meadow and Leona Maguire finished well down the leaderboard as the LPGA Tour’s Walmart NW Arkansas Championship came to an end on Sunday.
Jordanstown professional Meadow had to settle for a share of 59th, unable to replicate her superb play of day one that saw her return a six-under par 65 to open her account on Friday.
Weekend rounds of 72 and 70 saw Meadow close on six-under par, good enough to collect a cheque worth $5,746 but a full 14 shots behind the winning score.
Meanwhile, after making the cut on the number, Leona Maguire was unable to muster much forward momentum thereafter. The Cavan professional returned weekend rounds of 69 and 72 for a one-under par total to finish in outright 77th and bank $4,132.
At the head of affairs, Austin Ernst rallied to win her second LPGA Tour title, closing with an eight-under par 63 for a two-stroke victory over Anna Nordqvist.
Four strokes behind Nordqvist entering the round, Ernst found 10 birdies around Pinnacle Country Club and joined 2014 champion Stacy Lewis as the event’s only American winners.
“I knew I needed a really low score,” Ernst said. “I kind of thought at the beginning of the week that 20 under would win and I think that’s what I got to, so guess I was right on that one. But you knew that out here you needed to attack and you couldn’t be afraid and couldn’t just kind of middle-the-green it all day.”
It was her first win in 144 starts since the 2014 Portland Classic. The 28-year-old former LSU player also won the 2011 NCAA individual title.
“It was long,” Ernst said. “A lot longer than I thought it would be. Oh, man, it feels good. I have worked really hard. I think this break was fantastic for me. Helped get my confidence back. I had a rough year last year. I played so well in 2018, and, man, just feels so good right now.”
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