CAREER WEEK FOR BOELJON
Christel Boeljon did not look at a single leaderboard all day on Sunday until the final
hole where she saw that she was just two shots off the lead with the leader, Anna Nordqvist, trailing in the group behind her. If she made the five-foot birdie putt on the 18th, she would’ve forced a playoff after Nordqvist bogeyed her last to drop a shot, finishing at 8-under par. Despite the disappointment in missing out on her first LPGA Tour win, Boeljon was pleased with picking up her career best finish. Her previous best was a tie for seventh at the 2014 Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic and the 2013 Reignwood LPGA Classic.
“You know, slowly starting to play better, and this week it finally sort of clicked and three rounds under par in these conditions and these winds I’m happy,” said Boeljon. “It’s a good week for me.” Boeljon admitted she had some issues with nerves on the back nine.
“I told my caddy like with four holes to go when we were on 15, I’m like, I’m starting to feel a little nervous right now,” said Boeljon. “I think for me it’s a big step.”
With her $135,995 runner-up check, Boeljon will jump 73 spots on the money list to No. 40. She missed four out of her last six starts and best finish this season came at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic (T38).
ANOTHER CLOSE CALL
Morgan Pressel entered Sunday with a one-shot lead over Anna Nordqvist and looked as calm as ever in her first time sleeping on a lead heading into the final round since the 2013 RICOH Women’s British Open with a 1-under start through five holes. But Pressel bogeyed the sixth hole and made a double bogey on the seventh and couldn’t ever fully recover.
“I mean I just didn’t make anything today. I didn’t hit it quite as well,” Pressel said. “Certainly made a mess of 6 and 7 and got behind the eight ball early, and these greens are just a little bit too bumpy to make a ton of putts out here,
even with good strokes. So I just had way too many putts today, and you’re not going to win a tournament hitting 2-over on Sunday.”
Although she leaves admittedly bummed that she wasn’t able to close out her third week in two months in contention on a Sunday, but Pressel’s game as hot as anyone in women’s golf right now with a tie for third Sunday. It’s just a process getting back to being comfortable being in contention after a nearly seven-year winless drought.
“I mean since I’ve been working on [my swing changes], I mean I’ve been in a lot of final groups, and that puts a lot of pressure on the swing,” Pressel said. “That’s probably the most pressure you have out here in tournament competition
is playing in the final group and having a chance to win. And it progresses every tournament when you get back out there, pressure makes you swing a little bit faster, a little bit harder, and I wasn’t quite as good with that today as I was for the first couple days. And it’s getting closer, so just gotta keep getting after it and working hard, and you know, definitely looking forward to next week and KPMG.
Pressel’s now finished in the top three in three of her last six events and has finished in the top 20 in six of her last seven events. She’s up to eighth on the money list, 10th in the Rolex Player of the Year points, 11th in the Race to the CME Globe, and passed Jessica Korda for seventh in U.S. Solheim Cup points.
It’s been a dramatic change for Pressel, who said she was lost in her swing when she returned from the two-week Asia stretch in March. She called up her old coach, Ron Stockton, and they went back to work at that point. The swing change still isn’t quite where she wanted it to be, but it’s getting there. Perhaps even more important than the changes in her swing have been the changes in her mind.
“I mean I think that’s a difference in me now is the patience that I have for poor shots and myself,” Pressel said. “And just I was able to forget about it and move forward.”
Now, she wants to move forward from top threes into wins. If there’s an ideal time to play well, it’s now with three major championships coming up in the next seven events.
“I know that what I’m working on is the right thing, and I think that’s what gives me confidence heading into the big summer stretch,” Pressel said. “And just gotta make a few more putts.”
FINAL GROUP RUSH
LPGA Tour rookie Kelly Shon played in the final group for the first time in her
young career on Sunday and turned in a respectable 1-under 70, good for a tied
for third finish. Although she said her main goal was to walk away with a win, her
career-best finish and great learning experience were a nice consolation prize.
“I was really proud of the way I handled myself out there,” said Shon. “I think even
before, within those first 14 holes, I think I could have made a couple more. But you
know what, all in all pretty happy with the way I handled myself, and I got to learn a lot. You know, playing with Anna, the champion, and then Morgan, just watching these guys play and how they handle themselves in the final three, I learned a lot today.”
Shon admitted to intense nerves on the first hole, but knows she grow to be more comfortable in the high pressure situations with every time she’s in them.
“Oh, it means a ton. I was nervous,” said Shon. “On the first hole, I don’t think my hands have ever shaken that much on the first hole thinking about that. So got it out of the way, and hopefully I can get better.”
The 2014 Princeton University grad has been open about her post-graduation debate on whether to pursue a professional golf career or not. But being in contention on Sunday made it clear that her gig on the LPGA Tour was the right
decision for now.
“This is as much fun as I’ve had ever playing golf,” said Shon. “Just because of the competition. Like today, the thrill, the excitement, the ups and downs. I don’t know. I’m glad I chose this path, for now. We’ll see.”
COMING FOR THE NO. 1 SPOT
Inbee Park made a charge at Lydia Ko’s No. 1 ranking Sunday but Ko will enter the Manulife LPGA Classic next week as the No. 1 player in the world for the 18th straight week after Park came up just one shot short of stealing Ko’s spot. Park finished in a tie for fifth but needed a two-way tie for third to take over Ko’s No. 1 spot.
Park and Ko have had a back-and-forth battle ever since Ko took the No. 1 spot from Park after the first event of the year. Ko, the youngest No. 1 in the world, won in February at the ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open to begin to separate herself from Park but Park responded by winning the HSBC Women’s Champions, where Ko finished second, and the chase has been on ever since. Ko won the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic at the end of April but Park responded by winning the very next week in Dallas.
This will be a back-and-forth show of one upping to watch throughout the summer heading into next week’s Manulife LPGA Classic, where Park won a year ago.
WOUNDED WARRIOR EAGLES
Karrie Webb, the 2013 winner of this event, had the lone eagle on Sunday on the par 5 3rd hole. The Hall of Famer increased the season-long weekend eagle total to 115 and the total money raised for the Wounded Warrior Project to $115,000.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
1 – Number of shots Inbee Park missed out on in her effort to take back the No. 1 ranking.
3 – Morgan Pressel has three top three finishes in her last six starts.
5 – Anna Nordqvist’s number of career wins.
6 – Inbee Park has now finished in the top five in six of her last 10 starts.
7 – Christel Boeljon’s previous best finish on the LPGA Tour was a tie for seventh at the 2013 Reignwood LPGA Classic and 2014 Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic.
43 – Number of spots Kelly Shon jumped on the money list; up to No. 49
64 – Austin Ernst’s final round 64 on Sunday was the round of the tournament and helped propel her to a tie for fifth.
73 – Number of spots Christel Boeljon jumped on the money list with her runner-up finish, moving up to the 40th on the money list.
135,995 – Christel Boeljon’s payout this week for her runner-up finish is almost eight times her earnings for the season heading into this week.