The 2014 LPGA T&CP National Championship concluded Wednesday, but not without some excitement on the course. Jean Bartholomew led the Championship heading into the final round by two strokes over Ashley Grier and Karen Paolozzi. But it was Lisa Grimes and Alison Curdt that went low Wednesday to jump into the top-eight spots of the Championship division. Bartholomew was able to hold her lead after a final round 73 Wednesday to clinch her fourth victory, third consecutively, at the LPGA T&CP National Championship.
The Senior division had an exciting round as the leaderboard continued to shoot low today. Dede Cusimano finished her final round with a 68, but it was not strong enough to beat Carolyn Hill’s final round of 66 (6-under par) that put on top of the leaderboard by four strokes.
Susan Fasoldt continued her steamroll in the Challenge division, winning her division Wednesday with a five stroke victory. Fasoldt led all three days and was able to hold her lead as play wrapped up.
LEAN MEAN JEAN MACHINE DOES IT AGAIN!
Defending Champion- not once, but twice- Jean Bartholomew holds on to her title once again as she claims another LPGA T&CP National Championship victory. Bartholomew came into this week’s event having won three times before, including the last two years consecutively.
“I was defending so I felt like I had a big ‘X’ on my back,” Bartholomew said. “I was nervous but it all worked out. Yesterday I started to stress a little about it and got tight.”
Bartholomew did not let the nerves effect her game come Wednesday’s round. She was able to keep steady throughout the course and finish with a final round of 73, low enough to secure her victory by two shots.
“You have to have fun with golf,” Bartholomew said. “I enjoyed the day today and I didn’t make any big mistakes which is always good. I didn’t know where anyone else was on the leaderboard today, I thought some of the pin placements were challenging so scores wouldn’t be that low, but you never know. I just tried to hang in there and it worked out.”
Following closely behind Bartholomew was PGA of America member, Karen Paolozzi. Paolozzi started Wednesday’s round tied for second with Ashley Grier just two shots off of the lead. Paolozzi kepted up with Bartholomew and finished with the same 73, but left her total score still two shots shy of the lead.
“This was my first opportunity to play in this Championship,” Paolozzi said. “I had been playing well all summer so I knew I had a good shot.”
Although Paolozzi came up short of the defending champion Bartholomew, she is still pleased with her finish and enjoyed the tournament at Chateau Elan.
“Personally it never really crossed my mind as a goal to finish as one of the leaders,” Paolozzi said. “I didn’t know if this would be an option for me. My membership is behind me with is exciting, I told a lot of them about this before and they came out to support me.”
HILL GOES LOW
The Senior division at the LPGA T&CP National Championship had a tough leaderboard heading into the final round Wednesday. With Carolyn Hill, Dede Cusimano, and Jan Kleiman all within two shots of the lead. It was not long before one of them broke out to steal the show.
Carolyn Hill went singing with the birdies Wednesday, at one point being 10-under. Defending Senior division Champion Cusimano kept her fight going with Hill, but after Hill shot a final round 66 there was not catching up.
“I had a great time out here playing with everyone and playing this golf course,” Hill said. “I must have been playing with bigger holes the way my putting was this week.”
Hill brought it one of the lowest rounds of the day and it was an impressive score to help clinch her exemption into the Legends Tour Championship.
“Woo-hoo!” Hill said. “It is such a great opportunity to be able to play with all of those great players in my era.”
Cusimano did become this year’s runner-up as there was a new title given to Hill as the 2014 LPGA T&CP National Champion of Senior division with impressive rounds of 69, 70, and 66.
FASOLDT SOAKS IT IN
The winner of the Challenge division did not come as a surprise to most. Susan Fasoldt, who had been leading following each round this week, held on to her lead Wednesday and was named the winner of the Challenge division at the LPGA T&CP National Championship.
“I wasn’t as nervous today,” Fasoldt said. “I really just focused on enjoying playing golf out there with my friends and not thinking about the lead too much.”
Fasoldt won her division with a five stroke advantage following her final round. She knows that finishing strong was not something that she could have done by herself.
“I owe a lot to Cathy Edelen,” Fasoldt said. “She told me to do everything that I have done the last few things and don’t change a thing.”
Sometimes all one needs is a little help from a friend. For Fasoldt that friend was Edelen and it was just what she needed to secure her win Wednesday.
THE EIGHT THAT WERE GREAT
Eight competitors in the Championship division qualified for the 2015 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship Wednesday. The eight qualifiers did not come without any drama. Amanda Moore, Charlotta Sorenstam, and Ashley Grier had a two-hole playoff to compete for the final two spots to qualify. The top eight finishers for the Championship were: Jean Bartholomew, Karen Paolozzi, Laurie Rinker, Alison Curdt, Amanda Moore, Lisa Grimes, Charlotta Sorenstam, and Elizabeth Caron.
“I’m very excited to get a chance to play in a major championship with the ‘real’ players,” Paolozzi said. “I think it is great event that we have combined because we are all here for one cause; to help grow the game of golf.”
For Bartholomew, she is not new to be able to play in a major LPGA Tour event, but with partnering with the PGA of America does change the stage for her.
“To partner LPGA and PGA of America, why not?” Bartholomew said. “I mean to grow the game of golf it is great and it will be a big time event. Good timing for the partnership.”
-Lowest score during the final round was a 66 by Carolyn Hill and Tina Tombs
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