After more than 10 years, Kris Tamulis is a winner on the LPGA Tour.
Tamulis carded a final round 7-under par, 65 to come from three strokes back for the win on Sunday at the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic. She won by one-stroke at 17-under par for the tournament, ahead of 54-hole leader Austin Ernst and former World No.1 Yani Tseng at 16-under par.
“My swing felt really good. I've really been working hard on my putting the last couple weeks,” Tamulis said. “These greens are probably the fastest I've played in I don't even know how long. So I've been just working on the speed and trying to hit it on the right side of the hole. There was a couple times where I had some really scary putts above the hole. Like that one on 16, I mean, I hit it out on the toe and I hit a good putt, and I mean, when you're hitting on the toe it's going to start a little bit right anyways, but I thought I could have hit that putt five feet past the hole. So you're kind of out there holding your breath. I'm telling myself to tickle it down to the hole a couple times and I did that pretty well.”
Tamulis played 29-holes on Sunday due to a series of weather delays on Friday and Saturday that pushed the third round into Sunday morning. She got on a roll with a third round 67 and was able to continue the momentum in the afternoon. Tamulis said after her round she had no idea that she had gone so low in the final round.
“I didn't even know that I shot 7‑under until I counted my birdies and then subtracted my bogey, which is such a cliché because everybody is always like, Oh, I never knew that I was playing that well,” Tamulis said. “We were trying to beat the weather all day and I think we were really lucky that we finished today. Honestly, if we would have called it after 36, I think I was maybe like tied for 9th or 10th, I would be, great, fine, that's okay, I get to go home. So now it's even better. Now it's just like cake.”
Tamulis has an eye for this course, carding her career best in this event last season in a tie for fourth which she was able to convert into a win this year thanks to a little extra motivation in hopes of playing the season ending CME Group Tour Championship in her hometown of Naples, Florida. The top-72 players in the standings qualify for the event. Tamulis is currently ranked 71st.
Runner-up Austin Ernst played with a little extra motivation this week as well having missed out on making this year’s U.S. Solheim Cup team. Ernst led by two strokes after completing the third round Sunday morning but got lapped by Tamulis in the final round, finishing with a 3-under par, 69 for her third top-5 finish of the season.
Two bogeys stood between Yani Tseng and her first victory in three years on the LPGA Tour. Tseng trailed by two entering the final round and posted a final round 5-under par, 67 to finish one back of Tamulis, matching her best finish of the year since the Honda LPGA Thailand in February where she finished T-2.
Lexi Thompson was paired with Ernst and Tseng in the final round Sunday and came up just short of her second win in this event, finishing tied for four at 14-under par, 3-back of the lead.
2012 champion of the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic, Stacy Lewis posted her 11th top-10 finish of the season this week in a tie for sixth at 12-under par.