After three rounds of the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship, LPGA rookie Aree Song held a lead of one shot over Mi-Hyun Kim and two over a trio of the game’s best players: Annika Sorenstam, Se Ri Pak and Grace Park.
The one she should have been
worried about was Jennifer Rosales.
Rosales, a 25-year-old Filipino who joined the LPGA in 2000 amid high expectations following a sterling college career, shot a final-round 65 May 2 to leap all the big names in front of her and earn her first LPGA victory.
“It’s great to win when all the top players are playing,” Rosales said after her one-shot triumph over Park (68), Rosie Jones (67), Becky Morgan (68) and Jung Yeon Lee (65). Kim
finished sixth, two shots back.
Neither Pak (70), who tied for
seventh, nor Sorenstam (71), who tied for 10th and struggled all day with her putter, could make a charge. And Song shot 6-over 78 to finish nine back.
“I told myself it’s anybody’s game . . . just try and make birdies and see what happens,” said Rosales, who began the day tied for 14th, four shots behind Song.
Rosales had to survive a shaky finish, as she knocked her second shot on the par-5 18th into the temporary club seats lining the left side of the green. She received a free drop next to the stands, but wound up with a bad lie in the thick rough. She blasted out onto the green, missed a long putt and tapped in for par.
“I hit a home run there,” she joked about pulling a 3-wood from 215 yards. “I’m so glad no one got hurt. Too much adrenaline. Thank God the grandstand was there.”
Then the waiting began for Rosales, who teed off four groups in front of the leaders. As she paced behind the scoring tent, smoking a cigarette and talking with family on her cell phone, several players had a shot to match her 14-under 274 total. Morgan came closest, sticking her third shot on the 18th just 6 feet from the flag. But she pulled the birdie putt badly.
– Staff and wire reports