Yu Liu (Beijing, China) chipped in for birdie on hole 15 and held on tight for her first Symetra Tour win at the Tullymore Classic on Sunday. Liu carded a 4-under, 68 to come from two shots off the lead to narrowly edge Sophia Popov (Heidelberg, Germany) Lindsey Weaver (Bellefontaine, Ohio) and Jessica Welch (Thomasville, Ga.), who tied for second. Liu is just the third player from China to win on the Symetra Tour. The other two are Yueer Cindy Feng (2014) and Hong Mei Yang (2004).
Liu finished at 16-under, 200 with rounds of 64-68-68 to earn the first place check of $15,000. She moves from tenth on the Volvik Race for the Card money list to No. 5 with $42,571 earned in 12 starts.
“It is amazing, the first win was really tough,” said Liu. “To have my friends out there supporting me on the last hole is definitely an experience that I will remember for life.”
Liu started red hot with birdies at holes one and two to quickly move into a share of the lead. She moved into the lead with birdies on holes six and eight. Meanwhile, Weaver tripped up with bogeys on holes five and six to fall back to 12-under, but did recover with birdies on eight and nine to make the turn two off the lead.
After four pars on the back nine, the turning point came on hole 15 when Liu chipped in for birdie from the rough.
“That was definitely one of the turning points,” said Liu. “Lindsey was first to hit and she knocked it close, like ten feet. I had 174 yards to the pin and it was downwind so I used my 7-iron and I did a three-quarter shot, but I just smashed it and it went over the green and in the rough. I felt that I really needed a par save there and I didn’t expect it to go in. It really helped me.”
After the chip in, Liu moved to 17-under while Weaver remained at 14-under with three holes left. Liu saved par on 16 after hitting her second shot in the water and then made another par on 17. Weaver made birdie on 17 to pull back within two shots.
On the par-5 18th, Liu hit her tee shot right and into the fescue and decided to take an unplayable. Weaver played the hole very well and hit her third to about 15-feet. Liu then played a beautiful fourth shot to about five feet. Weaver was first to putt and just lipped out for birdie. Liu had two putts to win and actually missed her par putt and then tapped in for bogey to win by one.
Liu was doused on the 18th green with water by fellow Tour professionals Ruixin Liu, Tiffany Chan, Victoria Morgan and Mind Muangkhumsakul.
Welch, who was playing in the group in front, had a similar birdie putt to Weaver to get to 16-under and
nearly made it. Popov, who played with Welch, made birdie on the 18th to get to 15-under and finished in a tie for second.
“Very happy with the way I played today,” said Popov, who moved to tenth on the money list. “The
consistency is very important to me right now and three 67’s shows that. I like where my game is at right now and hopefully I can keep it going.”
Liu had an incredible week with 22 birdies and it appeared as if her game was building towards a
performance like this. She finished in a tie for fifth last week at the Island Resort Championship.
“This definitely helps not only from the ranking standpoint, but this is a big confidence booster for me
knowing that I am capable of winning out here,” said Liu. “I’ve been close a couple of times, but I haven’t been able to get it done until now. Getting a win really differentiates the best players from the good players.”
This is her third professional victory and first since turning pro. She won two China LPGA events as an
amateur. Liu went to Duke for one year and was the 2013-14 ACC Freshman of the Year before deciding to turn pro. She started playing in the United States as an amateur in AJGA events.
Liu now has a win and a T4 finish in consecutive years at Tullymore Golf Resort.
“This is just my favorite golf course without a doubt.”
JESSICA WELCH WITH ANOTHER TOP 5: Jessica Welch has come on strong since the beginning of June. She finished in a tie for third at the Decatur-Forsyth Classic and now can add a career-best tie for second to her growing list of accomplishments.
Welch posted a 5-under, 67 to nearly find her way into a playoff.
“I felt really good today and I hit the ball really solid again,” said Welch. “While I’m a little disappointed that I couldn’t finish it out on 18, I’m definitely feeling confident going into the Open.”
Welch qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open in early June.
She moved from 45 to 27 on the new money list.
BERMINGHAM ACES HOLE 12 IN FINAL ROUND: Jennifer Bermingham (Long Beach, Calif.) made an ace on the 12th hole in the final-round of the Tullymore Classic and posted a 2-under, 70 to finish T43.
It was the fifth ace of her career.
The funny part of the hole-in-one is that she almost used the wrong yardage. Fellow Tour professional
Kristin Coleman, who missed the cut, was on her bag on Sunday and saved the day.
“I had the wrong yardage and Kristin was like ‘that is not the front edge yardage’ so I switched clubs,”
explained Bermingham. “I was originally going to hit a 7-iron and then I hit a 6-iron and made a hole-in-one.”
The ace came from 168 yards out.
“It landed right by the pin and rolled up the hill and nobody clapped for me, I thought that it was such a good shot and I couldn’t believe nobody clapped,” explained Bermingham because the hole is not visible from the tee box. “All of a sudden, my host mom, Lynne, screams so it was pretty awesome.”