The final round of the 2016 Manulife LPGA Classic was a back and forth affair where the identity of the winner was left to very late on the final day.
Germany’s Caroline Masson broke through the logjam and captured her first LPGA Tour victory courtesy of her final round 67 at the Whistle Bear Golf Club in Cambridge, Ontario.
Things were not looking so bright for Masson early in the day after she made a double bogey on her very first hole. She was undeterred, however, and mixed in 9 birdies for the rest of her to make up the three strokes deficit she had to the overnight leader.
“It’s hard to believe,” said Masson of the success. “I mean it really is. Obviously I was in a good position coming into today, and I was thinking, well, if I can shoot a really good round, I might have a chance, but I was totally not expecting it.”
The 27 year-old becomes the first German player to win on the LPGA since Sandra Gal managed the feat in 2011 at the Kia Classic.
Having missed the cut in 14 of her 21 starts in 2016, Masson felt much disappointment throughout the year but persevered.
“I always know that I can win a tournament on the LPGA,” Masson said. “I obviously also know that a lot of things have to go right for that. Golf is a funny game, and I was a little streaky this year. I played a lot of great golf, and I missed a lot of cuts and most of them actually by one shot which was really disappointing. It was a really frustrating period this year. And you know, it’s all about just keep working and believing that you can do it, and that’s what I did and that’s what my team helped me with.”
France’s Karine Icher, Australia’s Minjee Lee and Mi Hyang Lee of South Korea finished one-shot off the lead in a three-way tie for second. Defending champion Suzann Pettersen joined the top-two players in the Rolex Rankings, Lydia Ko and Ariya Jutanugarn, at 14-under.
The week in Cambridge started strong for the Canadian contingent and had some high moments, but ultimately did not end with a high finish.
Alena Sharp was the best of the Canadians. She finished at 9-under-par to share 26th place. It followed her best career finish, a share of 4th, at the CP Women’s Open.
Sharp picked up (USD) $12,485 for her play at Whistle Bear.
Three other Canadians made the 36-hole cut.
Maude-Aimee Leblanc and Brooke Henderson tied for 39th place while Anne-Catherine Tanguay shared 44th.