CAMARILLO CA — Jodi Ewart-Shadoff is now an LPGA Tour winner in her 246th Start. She closed with a 1-under 70 in a nervy last round Sunday to secure a one-shot victory at the LPGA Mediheal Championship.
Ewart Shadoff went wire-towire at The Saticoy Club. The final round felt like a rollercoaster. The 34-year old English woman started with a four shot lead and was gone by the turn.
South African Paula Reto had four birdies, and she took the lead after Ewart Shadoff made bogey on par-3 ninth hole.
Ewart Shahoff regained a part of the lead after a birdie at No. 12, made matching birdies on the par-5 14th with Reto and then held firm as the South African fell back.
Reto missed the next two holes. Ewart Shahoff held it together on closing holes. Yuka Saso, a former champion of the U.S Womens Open, was one shot ahead. She closed with a 66.
Reto had to settle with a 69 in order to tie for third place with Georgia Hall (65) or Danielle Kang (67).
The celebration that followed her tap-in for par was a mix of tears that friends, players and Ewart Shadoff poured on.
That last 1-footer felt almost 20 feet to my eyes, she said.
She is the 10th player to win the LPGA Tour for the first time this year, one less than the 1995 record. This was the longest wait for any of the other players.
Ewart Shadoff said, Its a little surreal, and held back tears. I didn’t know if this moment would ever happen. Im so grateful for everyone who is on my team. Last year was very difficult. I am standing here because they are. Im so grateful.
Ewart Shadoff knew Sunday would be an exciting day, and Reto was able to catch her in six holes. She had three birdies to Ewarts bogey at the third hole. She never let up and relied on her putter which is not usually her strongest part of the game.
I learned that I was able to overcome adversity. I can deal with nerves. That was a problem for my in the past. She stated that she is trying to calm down the nerves and get through it. I feel like I proved it to myself. I proved I could win. Its been a long, hard time. I was surprised that I would be sitting here honestly. I am so grateful.
Atthaya Thikiul, a Thai teenager, finished eighth with a score of 68. She is now closer to No. 1. in the womens world rankings.
Jin Young Ko is number. Jin Young Ko is currently No.1 and has been at home resting her ailing wrist. Ko will be back in competition in two weeks, when the LPGA Tour heads to South Korea.