SUN CITY WEST, Ariz., March 6, 2016 – World Golf Hall of Fame member Juli Inkster found a different gear on the back nine in today’s final round of the Walgreens Charity Classic.
Paired with Australia’s Wendy Doolan, Inkster trailed Doolan by one shot when the two made the nine-hole turn at Grandview Golf Course. But the Californian birdied No. 10, while Doolan three-putted for bogey, giving Inkster a one-stroke lead. That two-shot swing was all Inkster needed to step on the gas.
“I wasn’t sure how anybody stood, but then on No. 9, I saw a leaderboard and realized it was the two of us,” said Inkster, of Los Altos, Calif. “We had a big switch on No. 10, but Wendy never gave up. We had a good battle out there.”
Inkster added birdies on holes 12, 13 and 14. Doolan answered with birdies on holes 14 and 17, but she could never close the gap.
With a two-stroke lead, Inkster laced a perfect drive on the last hole, but her wedge-shot approach caught the wind and landed short of the green. The 31-time LPGA Tour winner chipped her third shot to within a foot of the flagstick and then tapped in for par and the win at 5-under 67 for a total of 9-under 135.
Doolan’s approach from a difficult fairway lie sailed over the green and into the bleachers. The Australian took relief and chipped to within 10 feet, but her putt to save par slid past the hole and Doolan, who lives in Lakeland, Fla., tapped in for bogey at 2-under 70 and 6-under 138 for the tournament.
Lisa Grimes (72) of Alexandria, Minn., and Christa Johnson (72) of Tucson, Ariz., tied for third at 4-under 140.
Australian Jan Stephenson, now of Phoenix, won the Legends Honors Division for her third win in two years in this age division for players age 63 and over. Stephenson came into the final round at even par, but fired a score of 4-under 68 to win the 36-hole competition at 3-under 141.
That sparkling final round included a birdie on the final hole and allowed her to charge past Shelley Hamlin (72) of Laveen, Ariz. The two were tied for the lead on the final tee box, and Stephenson later admitted that she was nervous because she knew everything would come down to the last hole.
The Australian hit her approach shot close and made her birdie for the win. Hamlin finished second at 2-under 142, while first-round Legends Honors Division leader Judy Dickinson (74) of Tequesta, Fla., finished third at one-under 143.
“I was more focused today and putted much better,” said Stephenson, a member of the Legends Tour Hall of Fame. “I knew I had to make putts.”
The final leaderboard and prize money of the Walgreens Charity Classic may be viewed at http://leaderboard.thelegendstour.com/?TID=63.
For more information, visit www.thelegendstour.com.