Sweeney began the day two-strokes behind second round leaders Alena Sharp, Stephanie Kono, Tiffany Joh, and Jenny Suh but the Bradenton, Fla. native struck early with an unconventional birdie at the par-5 first.
“I actually started off with a birdie on the first hole, probably a different way than most players,” said Sweeney. “I hit it into the left trap, topped my second shot into the fairway and then hit a pitching wedge from 120 yards to about 18-feet and rolled-in the putt.”
Sweeney immediately gave a stroke back at the par-4 second then reeled off six consecutive pars until her next birdie came at the par-5 ninth. A member of the tour since 2008, Sweeney admitted following her victory that she left herself with a few knee knocking two-footers throughout the day.
“I bogeyed the next hole then made a lot of pars,” said Sweeney. “I left myself with a lot of two-footers which is usually fine for me, I usually just tap them in, but today I was just really negative and was like I’m just going to mark the ball until I get in a better state of mind.”
Sweeney made the turn at 1-under for the day until she rolled in a 40-foot birdie putt at the par-3 11th to move her to 2-under.
Suh looked to be in command of the tournament and held a three-stroke lead heading into the par-4 13th until a double-bogey followed immediately by a bogey at the par-4 14th moved Sweeney into striking distance.
Sweeney capitalized on the opportunity and went on to notch back-to-back birdies at Nos. 15 and 16 even after going against her father’s advice who was on her bag all week.
“I was talking with my dad on 15, I hit a good drive and I had just played that hole this morning to finish up my round,” said Sweeney. “I told him I don’t like this lie and he told me to just go for it but I knew there was no reason for me to go for it because I could make a birdie with a wedge in my hand. I just laid up to 100 yards, hit a nine iron because it was so strong into the wind, hit it to six feet and made the putt. I turned to him and said see, I can make a birdie the hard way as well.”
Sweeney, who won in Albany, NY last year, started feeling the nervous but was able to calm herself down and with extreme poise and put an exclamation mark on her victory with a birdie at the par-4 18th.
“It was a great feeling,” said Sweeney. “I wasn’t as nervous as I was in Albany because I hit such a good shot in to the 18th hole and I played really smart today. I have played so much golf in the wind in Florida and it was really windy today so I think that helped.”
Sweeney earned a two-stroke victory over LPGA Tour member Alena Sharp who fired a final-round 1-under 71.