Forced to withstand lingering rain and a lengthy two hour and 23 minute delay, Christine Song fired a final-round 1-under 71 to emerge victorious at the Eagle Classic Presented by Bag Boy.
Heavy rain hovered over Richmond Country Club early in the day rendering the course unplayable at 11:07 a.m. but after squeegeeing several greens and tee boxes, players were able to return to the course at 1:30 p.m.
Despite the soggy conditions, Song was able to record two bogeys and three birdies to finish the tournament at 8-under-par and take home a 3-stroke victory over Stefanie Kenoyer, Kendall Dye, Alexandra Casi, Perrine Delacour and Jean Chua.
“My feet are wet and my clothes are wet so all I was trying to do was zone out the rain,” said Song. “I guess that’s what I did today.”
Song’s day didn’t start out as she envisioned as she quickly picked-up her first bogey at the par-5 third, but the fourth-year Symetra Tour member was saved as the sound of air horns flooding the air signaling the delay. The lengthy delay would provide Song with just the opportunity she would need to fine-tune her failing iron play.
“I think the break, the delay got me more focused,” said Song. “I wasn’t hitting it good the first two holes and thankfully they let us hit some balls on the range before we went out. I think I fixed it.”
The Fullerton, Calif. native came out of the delay looking as if she was unflappable picking-up her first birdie of the day at the par-4 eighth. The birdies would continue to roll-in for song after a brief glimpse of the leaderboard at nine revealed several players zoning in on Song’s lead.
“I did see on nine and I think that’s what made me birdie 11 and 12,” said Song. “I knew they were behind me and I knew I had to do something.”
Just when Song’s lead was extended to 4-strokes over a pack of players, she dropped a shot with a bogey at the par-4 16th.
After a par the 17th, Song headed to the final hole with a 3-stroke cushion but a double-bogey on the same hole in Saturday’s second-round, left her hoping to avoid the left trees on her drive. Despite being unable to avoid the same tree which plagued her during the second-round, Song was able to make par and record her fourth career Symetra Tour win.
“I hit the branch on 18,” said Song. “It wasn’t a snap hook like yesterday but it just slightly caught the branch and it was still in play.”
This week’s victory marked Song’s second win on Tour this season, making her first player this year to make multiple trips to the winner’s circle.
“To be honest, I really scrambled a lot this week and the last two days,” said Song. “There’s nothing like my first win but it still feels really good.”
With the win, Song is steadily inching her way back to the LPGA Tour. In 2009, Song finished No. 6 on the Volvik Race for the Card standings, earning her conditional LPGA status for the 2010 season. She then decided to primarily focus on the Symetra Tour in 2010 and won two events which proved to be good enough to land her third on the season-ending Volvik Race for the Card standings earning her full-status on the 2011 LPGA Tour.
She entered the Eagle Classic Presented by Bag Boy on the outside looking in at No. 16 on the Volvik Race for the Win but the commanding victory catapulted her to No. 2 on the Race.
“It would mean so much,” said Song of returning to the LPGA. “I don’t want to play here for too long and I just want to see all my friends out there too and play well.”