FORT MYERS, Fla., April 19, 2015 – Augusta James (Kingston, Ontario) was born on the first-round of the 1993 Masters Tournament. Twenty-two years later and just one week after the 2015 Masters, she carded a 5-under 67 on Sunday to win the Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial, her first professional win.
With the first place check of $22,500, James moves from 58 on the Volvik Race for the Card money list to the top spot.
“It’s a fantastic feeling,” said James, who made only three bogeys over 72 holes. “I’m really happy and really excited that my hard work is paying off.”
James made the turn at 1-under for the day, one shot off the lead held by Brianna Do at 7-under. While Do faded, James accelerated with birdies on five of her first six holes on the back nine to seize control.
“I had really good feelings on the front nine and stepped on the first tee feeling good,” said James. “I had good momentum on the front, but I was able to capitalize on the back.”
James knew it was her day when she drained a 40-foot birdie putt on the 13th hole.
“You don’t plan on making 40-foot putts in the sense that if you do make them they are a bonus,” said James. “It’s tough to make 40-foot putts, but I stood over that putt and felt really confident. I liked the line, I liked the speed and pace and was happy to see it drop.”
In just her fourth event in her rookie season, James is the leading money earner at $23,684.
“It’s great to move to the top spot because my goal is to get one of the top 10 spots so I can play on the LPGA Tour next year,” said James. “However, I’ve been told that as soon as you start thinking about money, your golf game suffers.”
James had an incredible week off the tee. She hit 51 of 56 fairways. The flatstick was also working all week as she needed only 26 putts on the final day.
Canadians have been the story in the early part of the Symetra Tour season. Sue Kim of Langley, British Columbia won the last event in Lake Wales, Florida. Four of the top 10 and five of the top 12 on the money list are Canadians.
“Definitely a great Symetra Tour season for Canadians so far,” said James. “We’ve all been playing really well which is awesome and it was great to have Lorie Kane and Gail Graham from the Legends Tour here this week.”
Midway through her senior season at North Carolina State, James decided to turn professional after completing three stages of LPGA Qualifying Tournament and earning strong Symetra Tour status. James was a three-time All-ACC performer for the Wolfpack.
In the summer of 2014, she won the Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship by an impressive six shots.
Was it destiny that a girl born on day one of The Masters and named Augusta becomes a professional golfer?
“It is certainly fitting that I am named Augusta, the name has worked out really well for me,” said James. “I like the uniqueness, but it has just been a great two weeks for me.”
Laura Kueny and Brianna Do finished in a tie for second at 6-under 282. Do posted her fourth consecutive top 10 finish and moves to No. 2 on the Volvik Race for the Card money list. Meanwhile, Kueny records her first top 10 finish of the year and is now ninth on the Volvik Race for the Card money list.
Laurie Rinker won the Legends Tour portion of the Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial with a two-day total of 5-under. She carded an even-par 72 on Sunday.
“It’s always great to win,” said Rinker of Stuart, FL. “This is a terrific new event for us with Chico’s as title sponsor and it feels really good to be a champion again on The Legends Tour.”
This was Rinker’s fourth win on The Legends Tour.