CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA, MAY 24, 2014 – Mallory Blackwelder shot the low round of the final round, a 5-under 67, to post 10-under for the tournament and capture a two-shot victory over Emily Talley at the 2014 Symetra Classic at Raintree Country Club in Charlotte. The win was the first of Blackwelder’s career.
“It feels amazing,” Blackwelder said. “I have been thinking about this moment for a long long time and it’s really surreal. I didn’t look at the leaderboard on the back nine so I wasn’t really sure what kind of position I was in. I knew obviously that I was playing great so walking up to the 18th I saw that I had a three shot lead and I was on the green so I knew that I was on cruise control and that just felt amazing.”
The Kentuckian followed up rounds of 69 and 70 with the 67 to take home the first place check of $15,000. The victory moves Blackwelder into the top-10 on the Volvik Race For The Card money list at sixth, up from the 24th position that she occupied entering the week.
“I just played really solid all week,” Blackwelder said. “Last week my mom came, who’s pretty much my swing coach and teacher, she came on Sunday to Asheville and we worked on my short game a lot. I had a lot of easy up-and-downs last week but I wasn’t converting so we just made a few tweaks. I changed my putting setup a little bit. My posture had just gotten a little slumped so I just stood taller to it this week. I putted great and I hit the ball great so I played almost flawlessly with the exception of the bogey on the first hole.”
Blackwelder’s mother stayed around the Tar heel state following the lesson in Asheville and was able to witness her daughter capturing her first tile on the Symetra Tour.
“It just couldn’t be better. She hasn’t gotten to watch me play a whole lot the last couple of years so it’s just amazing that she could be here,” Blackwelder explained. “Once I kind of knew that I was winning I kind of flashed back to when I won the Kentucky High School state tournament by 10 shots and she was there and we were crying after the round. It just means so much that she’s here. She has put her heart and soul into my career and made a lot of sacrifices and it’s just really special for her to be here.”
While her mother was in attendance for the win, several of her other family members who are involved in golf followed from afar, including her brother Myles Blackwelder who is on the bag for Jodi Ewart Shadoff in the LPGA event in Mobile.
“Hopefully she didn’t mind,” Blackwelder joked of her brother asking Ewart Shadoff for updates. “That’s awesome. We are a huge golf family obviously and everybody knows what’s going on. I’m sure that as soon as my fiancée got done on the golf course today, he caddies for Graham DeLett, I’m sure he was hearing from mom and my dad’s player missed the cut this week so I know he was probably checking the leaderboard every five seconds. It’s just awesome that we’re all so involved and that we understand what each other do because this is a very weird life that we live. Tour life is very strange so the fact that I have so many people who truly understand what I’m trying to do and who really support me is just awesome.”
While Blackwelder obviously felt the support and love from her family she also felt it from her fellow players on the Symetra Tour, several of whom stuck around to douse her with water following her win.
“That was awesome,” Blackwelder said of the celebration. “It’s funny because I really honestly, I know this sounds crazy, but I was picturing that this week. I was picturing getting water dumped on me. I just feel really comfortable with this golf course. I’m not really sure what it is about it but I honestly was picturing that. I told my mom that last night and I obviously I wasn’t trying to get ahead of myself but that comforting knowing that I was comfortable with the idea of me winning and that it didn’t make me nervous. It’s just awesome that my girls came to support me. Some of my best friends are out here and it’s just really awesome.”
Talley finished solo second with an 8-under total while Min Seo Kwak and Kendall Dye placed third and fourth respectively with scores of 7-under and 6-under.
Defending champion Laura Kueny finished in a tie for 46th at 3-over.