Sandra Changkija Rallies to Win Third Consecutive PGA Women’s Stroke Play Championship

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Sandra Changkija Rallies to Win Third Consecutive PGA Women’s Stroke Play Championship

By Craig Dolch
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Sandra Changkija of Kissimmee, Florida, won her third consecutive PGA Women’s Stroke Play Championship on Feb. 21 at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

However, the end was not what we expected.

Changkija won eagle-birdie birdie to overcome a deficit of three shots with three holes to play to win by one stroke over Stephanie Connelly Eiswerth, Fleming Island. Changkija finished at 6-under-209 on the Wanamaker Course with a 6-under-66 score.


Sandra Changkija, PGA Professional hit her second shot on the eighth fairway during round one of the 2022 KPMG Womens PGA Championship at Congressional Country Club, June 23rd, 2022 in Bethesda. (Photo by Darren Carroll/PGA of America).
Changkija’s hopes appeared to end when she three-putted the 15th hole to fall three behind Connelly-Eiswerth. Changkija, however, managed to eagle the 16th hole with a 6-iron that ranged from 165 yards up to 2 feet and rolled in a 60-foot birdie shot at No. 17 and birdied the 18th for victory, Connelly-Eiswerth making a bogey on the final hole.
“It feels amazing to win three in a row,” said Changkija, a PGA Assistant Professional at ChampionsGate near Orlando. “I don’t really know what to say other than I hit really good golf shots.
“A five-shot deficit (to start the round) to Stephanie, who’s a really good player, seemed kind of hard. I didn’t have any expectations, I just wanted to make birdies.”

Connelly-Eiswerth responded to Changkija’s brilliant second shot at No. 16 hit her third shot to five-foots and made the putt to maintain her lead at two. Changkija putt her long putt on No. 17 to make it a one stroke deficit heading to No.

“I three-putted two holes, but sure enough I made 60-footers on two par-3s, so that helped,” Changkija said. “After 17, I just knew I had to play 18 well.”

Connelly -Eiswerth (72-210) opened the final round with three shots lead over Allie Knight. This advantage was maintained through 15 holes. However, she was caught between the clubs at 18 and failed to move from behind the green.


Stephanie Connelly Eiswerth tees up on the 18th hole at Wanamaker during round three of the 2021 Womens Stroke Play Championship, PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie. (Photo by Rachel Harris/PGA of America).
“That’s not an easy pin to get to,” Connelly-Eiswerth said. “I played really well; just didn’t do enough. Sandra had it going and she finished it off.”

Loretta Giovannettone of Jupiter, Florida, finished tied for third with Knight to earn a spot in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship June 21-25 at Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey. Giovannettone was at 216, with Meaghan Francella at 70-217. She shot 1-under-71. After her drive almost hit the water, Giovannettone putt a 6-foot par putt on the 18th hole.

“It feels really good,” said Giovannettone, a 31-year-old PGA Assistant Professional at the Country Club of Florida. “That’s my goal when I play in this tournament every year. From the tee, I couldn’t tell if I was in the water or not. It was closer than what I expected. I was proud to make that 6-foot putt.”

Changkija, Connelly-Eiswerth, Knight, Joanna Coe and Samantha Morrell already had qualified for the KPMG through their finishes in the LPGA Teaching & Club Professional Championship.

Lisa Grimes, Arizona, defended her title at the Senior Division. She shot 1-over-73 to win by 12 strokes at 4-under-211.


Lisa Grimes chips onto the green at the fourth hole during round four of the 2023 PGA Womens Stroke Play Championship, Senior Division, at PGA Golf Club Port St. Lucie (Florida). (Photo by Austen Amacker/PGA of America
“I was lucky to get off to a strong start because I haven’t played in a tournament in three months,” said Grimes, who won the overall title twice (2018, 20). “It’s nice to win any tournament at my age. We don’t get many opportunities to play, so I appreciate the PGA for letting us play.”

GolfPass and On Location present the PGA Winter Championships.

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