2001: LPGA - Golden rules with final-day 63
After seven lackluster seasons on the LPGA Tour, Kate Golden finally tasted victory.
And it had the flavor of beer, not champagne.
While friends poured beer over her, Golden savored her surprising victory at the State Farm Classic on Sept. 2 after she came from six strokes behind Annika Sorenstam to beat the Swede by one stroke.
Golden, 33, had to go low to accomplish the feat, shooting a final-round 9-under-par 63. The career-best round gave Golden a 21-under 267, four strokes better than the previous tournament record.
“It’s like a tidal wave,” Golden said. “I finally got my four rounds in a row. I usually drive the ball well, and I’m a pretty good putter. When my irons are on is when I really play well.”
Moira Dunn, the only player to shoot four rounds in the 60s, had 67 to finish four strokes back at 271. Emilee Klein (68) followed at 272, and Laura Diaz (67) was fifth at 273.
Entering the tournament at the Rail Golf Club, Golden’s best finish was fourth place in 1996. She had five top 20s last season, her best year on tour with $128,298 in earnings.
Sorenstam was coming into the State Farm seeking her seventh victory of the season. She had won only two weeks ago, at the Canadian Women’s Open Aug. 19, and took off the following week.
At State Farm, Sorenstam opened with a 65 and shared the first-round lead, then took sole possession after a 66 on the day that Golden tied her previous career-best, a 65, to move a stroke behind the leader.
Sorenstam remained atop the leaderboard after the third round, five strokes ahead of Cristie Kerr, whose 63 moved her from 29th place to a spot in the final threesome Sunday.
Golden, playing in the second group in front of Sorenstam, plodded along for five holes, picking up a birdie on No. 3, before she kicked her game into high gear. She birdied the last four holes on the front nine to pull within two strokes of the lead as Sorenstam shot 35.
The former University of Texas star answered Sorenstam’s birdie on No. 10 with some strong putting that started on the 183-yard, par-3 11th, where she dropped a sharp-breaking 30-footer that she called “the bomb.”
“When that went in, the hair stood up on the back of my neck, and I said, ‘Here we go,’ ” Golden said.
She followed with birdies on Nos. 12, 14 and 15, and she just missed birdie putts on 13 and 16.
“My knees started shaking on the 15th tee, and they haven’t stopped yet,” Golden said as friends showered her with beer to celebrate the end of her drought on tour. Golden earned $150,000 to nearly triple her season earnings at $200,979.
Sorenstam fell two strokes back with a bogey on No. 16. She got a stroke back on the 335-yard 17th after hitting a sand wedge close for birdie. Her birdie putt to force a playoff on No. 18 finished inches to the right of the hole.
But in finishing second, Sorenstam actually took home more money than the winner. In addition to her runner-up check for $93,092 was $100,000 in unofficial money for winning the State Farm Series – a $250,000 bonus pool distributed on the basis of performance in 12 select events.
– From staff and wire reports