Marissa Steen battled through four playoff holes and finally outdueled Cindy Feng with a birdie on the fifth playoff hole to capture the Guardian Retirement Championship at Sara Bay on Sunday. Steen shot a 3-under-par 69 to force the playoff.
Steen, who has finished runner-up three times on the Symetra Tour, broke through with her first win.
“It was a great week from start to finish, Guardian Retirement Solutions did a great job and Sara Bay was a great host,” said Steen. “This is my third playoff so it feels good to finally get the job done.”
Steen made birdie on the 18th hole to move to 3-under-par for the championship. At the time, Feng was still at 4-under-par.
Feng made bogey on the 15th hole to drop back to 3-under-par. The 18-year-old finished with three straight pars and the playoff began.
Both Steen and Feng had their chances over the first four playoff holes, but neither was able to roll in a putt.
On the fifth playoff hole, Feng went left on her second shot on the par-5 18th and had to land short of the green with her third shot. Conversely, Steen was in the middle of the fairway and hit a perfect wedge shot to give her a short birdie putt for the win.
“To get the job done and seal the deal, it is really surreal right now,” said the 24-year-old Steen. “I looked at my caddy when I was done and said ‘oh my gosh, I won’.”
Steen lost a seven-hole playoff in 2013 at the Four Winds Invitational to Cydney Clanton so finally get in the winner’s circle was a relief.
“The feeling was awesome, I told myself ‘finally’, that’s what I was thinking the whole time,” said Steen. “I kept telling myself that if you put yourself in contention, good things are going to happen and it finally did today.”
Steen shot a final-round best 3-under-par 69 to move from eighth at the start of the day to a tie for first with Feng. Steen made back-to-back birdies on the 17th and 18th holes to put pressure on Feng.
“I hit a really good shot into 18, I put it to 10 feet and pin high,” said Steen. “My caddy Ernie and I looked at each other and looked at the scoreboard and he said that we have to make this putt.”
Steen moves into second on the Volvik Race for the Card money list with her first career win. The winner’s share of $15,000 bumps her total for the year up to $30,977.
Cindy Feng remains the Volvik Race for the Card money list leader with her second place finish. Feng has earned $35,351 through five events. Feng has now finished in the top-10 in four consecutive events.
“To finally get a win is huge; I have been close so many times so it just feels amazing.”