Buzminski Wrestles South Texas Wind For Fifth Career Victory
Article Courtesy of Duramed FUTURES Tour
BROWNSVILLE, Texas, April 26, 2009 - Angela Buzminski made a promise six years ago that she wanted to keep. And since 2003, wanting to win again was about more than just hoisting a crystal trophy and depositing a nice check into her bank account. It was about keeping a promise to a friend.
The Canadian kept her promise today when she won the inaugural $110,000 Historic Brownsville Open in a non-stop windstorm that rendered only two sub-par rounds and two even-par rounds on a tough-playing El Diablo Course at Rancho Viejo Resort and Country Club. Sustained winds at 29 mph howled all day, with gusts of up to 38 mph.
In short, it was a devil of a day. And according to Buzminski, who finished at six-over-par 77 to win at 216 (+3), it was downright "ugly" at times.
"A win is a win and it's been so long since my last one," said Buzminski, a 15th-year professional of Oshawa, Ontario, who now owns five victories on the Duramed FUTURES Tour.
Like everybody else in the field, Buzminski had her share of trouble today. On her front nine, she recorded three bogeys and a double-bogey for a score of four-over-par 40. On one hole, her ball rolled to the base of a tree, forcing the left-handed player to play the shot right-handed with the toe of her putter. But rather than melting down, the veteran pro dug in her heels knowing that there were nine more holes remaining.
"I knew it was tough for everybody and I really wasn't worried," she said. "I don't get sassy anymore. I'm too old for that."
Sure enough, she rolled in a birdie from 10 feet on the 12th hole, gave it back on the 13th with a bogey, and then birdied from five feet on the 15th. But on the par-3 16th, a 160-yard hole that was playing 180, Buzminski smoked her knockdown hybrid over the green. The shot was out of bounds and Buzminski ended up taking a double-bogey-5 on the hole. That time, there was a little steam starting to boil and fellow player Meghan Little, who missed the cut on Saturday and caddied for Buzminski today, reached out and stopped the madness.
"After that double on 16, she took off toward the 17th tee and I grabbed her by the shoulder," said Little. "I said, 'You can slow down right now because there's no hurry to get there. There's two holes left and you still have a one-shot lead.'"
It was good advice, because try as they might, nobody else could catch her on the tight tree-lined course with small, firm greens and winds that wore down the patience of all. Buzminski hit her "stinger" 3-wood off the tee on both holes 17 and 18 to par in, capping her win from the back fringe of the 18th from 25 feet.
When it was all over, and her peers drenched her in Michelob ULTRA, the Canadian could only say how glad she was that she "didn't have to play in the wind anymore." It was a universal sigh of relief on this South Texas oasis.
I feel like I just was in a fight for three days and I lost, said LPGA Tour veteran Vicki Goetze-Ackerman of Cartersville, Ga., who finished tied for 50th."
"I was doing more scrambling than IHOP," laughed Liz Janangelo of West Hartford, Conn., whose even-par score of 71 today bolted her into a tie for third at 218 (+5). "My whole goal today was to hit a lot of 3-woods and just keep it in play."
Nontaya "Net" Srisawang (73) of Chiang Mai, Thailand, started today's final round five shots off the lead, but played the front nine holes at even-par 36 with two birdies and two bogeys. That brought her to within one stroke of Buzminski after nine holes. But the Thai player missed four-foot par putts for a pair of consecutive bogeys on holes 10 and 11, and took par on her last seven holes to settle for second at 217 (+4), one shot behind Buzminski.
"I think I got lucky today," said Srisawang, who has won three professional tournaments in Thailand. "I think today I should probably have been more than four over, but I made some saves. Pars are good. It was hard for everybody. I am happy."
Former NCAA champion Dewi Claire Schreefel (75) of Diepenveen, Netherlands, made a run at the lead, but landed in the six-way tie for third at 218 (+5) with Janangelo, Sae Hee Son (72) of Seoul, South Korea, Garrett Phillips (72) of St. Simons Island, Ga., Onnarin "Moo" Sattayabanphot (74) of Bangkok, Thailand, and Sarah Lynn Sargent (76) of Williamston, S.C.
"It takes a lot of energy to play in this and the scores show it," said Schreefel.
Only two players broke par in today's final round. Kelly Lagedrost of Brooksville, Fla., and Jasi Acharya of Columbus, Mont., both shot one-under 70, with Lagedrost tying for ninth at 219 (+6) and Acharya tying for 18th at 221 (+8).
But today belonged to the player who sums up her career with one word: Perseverance.
Buzminski won her first tournament as a professional on the Duramed FUTURES Tour in 2000, and then tore it up in 2001 with three wins and nine top-10 finishes. That year, she earned full LPGA status by finishing in the top three on the Tour's money list back when only three players earned automatic LPGA membership for the next year.
But as talented as the left-handed is, her success never fully transferred with her to the LPGA Tour. After three years in the Big League, she was back to the developmental tour to begin a confidence slide that finally ended today.
Or perhaps more accurately, a year ago when she went to teaching professional Jeff Gschwind and admitted that she was ready for an overhaul. The teacher reinforced her positive thoughts and launched her on a new "stack and tilt" swing method to shorten her previously long-and-loose backswing and help her become more "centered" in her shotmaking.
All last season, the goal was to put the new swing into play. Today, the test was to put it into play in challenging conditions to see if it would stick. It did.
So after she had signed her last autograph, Buzminski spoke quietly about the promise she had made to fellow Canadian Heather Wilbur back in 2003. Wilbur was 27 and fighting leukemia. Each day was becoming a challenge for Wilbur, who had played on the Tour for three years when she suddenly fell ill with the disease.
"A couple of months before Heather died, I told her that the next time I win, that I would dedicate it to her," said Buzminski. "I guess it took me a while."
But today, Buzminski kept her promise.
For scores and more information, visit duramedfuturestour.com.