Rinker Wins ISPS Handa Legends Tour Open Championship
PALM HARBOR, Fla., Nov. 10, 2013 – Floridian Laurie Rinker nearly gave it away, but battled back to win the fifth annual ISPS Handa Legends Tour Open Championship by one stroke.
Rinker held a five-shot lead after eight holes in today’s final round, but made some wobbly swings on the back nine that dropped her into a neck-and-neck race with Canada’s Lorie Kane. Rinker took double-bogey with an unplayable lie on No. 12, and then stumbled with bogeys on hole Nos. 14 and 17.
But the LPGA veteran held on for a wire-to-wire win with scores of 67-74 for a 5-under total of 141, edging out Kane (72), Great Britain’s Trish Johnson (72), and Barb Mucha (69), who tied for second at 4-under 142 at the Island Course at Innisbrook Resort.
“It’s hard to play when your stomach is in your throat,” said Rinker, who lost to Kane in September’s Legends Championship, where the two battled head to head in French Lick, Ind. “I hit two poor shots that I can say were because I was nervous, but hallelujah! I can’t believe it!”
The Florida native got off to a hot start today with birdies on three of her first five holes. She bogeyed No. 9, but answered with a 30-foot putt for birdie on No. 10. But she unraveled when a double-bogey on No. 12 dropped her into a tie with Kane at 6 under.
“After I made a double on that hole, I think I lost my confidence a little bit,” she said. “I put all the pressure on myself today.”
Kane and Rinker shared the lead twice more late in the round before Kane had a six-foot birdie chance on No. 17 to take the lead. The Canadian couldn’t convert her birdie putt.
On the final hole, Kane hit her approach shot to 10 feet and again had a chance to grab the clubhouse lead with Rinker watching from the fairway in the group behind. But Kane ran her downhill birdie attempt four feet past the hole and then missed her putt for par. She walked off the green with a three-putt bogey.
Rinker also hit her approach on No. 18 to within 10 feet of the flagstick for birdie. She left her attempt three feet short. But even through the Floridian missed her birdie putt, she took the win with a putt for par.
“I’ve been playing really well this year,” said Rinker, who finished second to Kane on the Legends Tour's 2013 season money list. “It was nice to finally do it – to win.”
Rinker collected $30,000 for her victory in the $200,000 championship, which concludes the 2013 season for the official senior tour of the LPGA.
Illinois native Nancy Scranton of Florida (73) and Minnesota’s Marilyn Lovander (71) tied for fifth at 3-under 143, while LPGA Hall of Famer Beth Daniel (71) finished seventh at 2-under 144.
For complete final-round results, visit: http://leaderboard.thelegendstour.com/?TID=50