Michele Redman ISPS Legends Tour Open Championship
PALM HARBOR, Fla., Nov. 13, 2011 - Michele Redman answers to the title of "Coach" these days, but today, she added the title of "champion" to her 2011 list of accolades.
The LPGA Tour veteran, who became the new head women's golf coach at the University of Minnesota in August, emerged as the winner of the ISPS Legends Tour Open Championship presented by Publix and Kraft Foods.
Redman posted rounds of 72-70 to win the Legends Tour's season-ending tournament at 2-under 142 on the Island Course at Innisbrook, a Salamander Golf & Spa Resort.
She edged out last year's champion Rosie Jones, who finished second at even-par 144 with a final-round score of 3-under 69. Redman was runner-up to Jones at the 2010 tournament.
"I really didn't expect much," said Redman, 46, a second-year member of the Legends Tour and a two-time LPGA Tour winner. "I just came down to Florida to have some fun and to go on vacation next week."
But Redman had a few extra cheerleaders heading into today's final round. After Saturday's opening round, she received text messages and emails from her Minnesota Golden Gopher players, telling the coach to go low.
And today, Coach Redman played like the LPGA Tour veteran who won the 1997 JAL Big Apple Classic, the 2000 First Union Betsy King Classic and who was a scrappy former U.S. Solheim Cup team member who used to drive her opponents crazy because she's the classic "Steady Betty" under fire.
Redman bogeyed the first hole when she three-putted from 45 feet, but she answered with a birdie from 18 feet on No. 3 and a 45-foot birdie on the eighth hole. She chipped in from 15 feet on the 10th hole and played the remaining holes at even-par, intentionally not looking at leaderboards on the course.
"I think I'm getting smarter," said Redman, who pocketed the $40,000 winner's prize. "Honestly, I've been so busy with my new job, I haven't thought about winning, but I putted well today. This was a lot of fun."
Celebrating her 52nd birthday in today's final round, Jones knew she needed to post a low score to have a chance to break away from the pack to defend her title.
"I knew I was still in the game if I could go out there and make some birdies today," said runner-up Jones, who recently served as captain of the 2011 U.S. Solheim Cup team. "But this is a tight golf course and you really have to be in touch with your putter. You can't make any mistakes."
Finishing third at one-over 145 was Cindy Figg-Currier (70). Tied for fourth at 3-over 147 was Christa Johnson (72) and Legends Tour rookie Liselotte Neumann (73).
Canadian Lorie Kane, who started today's final round tied for the lead with Redman, struggled today with a 4-over 76 to finish sixth at 4-over 148. A second-year Legends Tour member, Kane carded a double-bogey on the second hole and could never catch Redman, with whom she was paired in the last group.
"She played steady, just as she always does," said Kane of Redman's performance.
And steady wins golf tournaments.
LPGA senior writer Lisa D. Mickey