DELRAY BEACH, Fla., Oct. 30, 2016 – Her peers call her the “iron woman” and the “ultimate grinder,” but for now, call LPGA veteran Juli Inkster the champion of the Walgreens Charity Championship presented by The Seagate Country Club.
Inkster carded rounds of 71-68 at Seagate Country Club to finish at 5-under 139, four shots ahead of good friend and fellow Northern Californian Pat Hurst. Hurst finished solo second at 1-under 143 in the season-ending event on The Legends Tour, the official senior tour of the LPGA.
“A win is a win,” said Inkster, 56, of Los Altos, Calif., who now has three Legends Tour victories (two this year) along with her 31 LPGA titles. “This is a good golf course and this is the best I’ve ever putted on Bermuda greens.”
The LPGA Hall of Famer got her round rolling with four birdies on the front nine, including a 20-footer on No. 2. She added an eight-foot birdie on No. 13, and drained a 35-footer for birdie to get to seven under on No. 14.
But after back-to-back birdies on 13 and 14, Inkster suffered consecutive bogeys on the next two holes, starting with a “loose” tee shot on the par-3 15th hole, and a bunker-to-bunker bogey on 16.
She recovered with a two-putt par on No. 17, and scrambled when her approach into the final green rolled to the back fringe. Inkster chipped to one foot and saved par for the win, improving from her second-place finish in 2014, and tie for third in 2015, to collect the $30,000 prize.
“She’s the ultimate grinder and she always wants to get a little bit better,” said Sweden’s Helen Alfredsson, who played with Inkster in today’s final round and finished tied for fifth at 1-over 145.
“She’s won pretty much everything, but it’s amazing, remarkable and admirable how she still has that tenacity to play,” added Alfredsson. “Juli is probably the most competitive woman I know in the world.”
Hurst agreed, crediting Inkster’s intense work ethic for her success.
In addition to playing in 12 LPGA tournaments and winning two out of three Legends Tour events she played this season, Inkster also worked as a FOX Sports golf analyst at five 2016 USGA championships and has continued scouting the future U.S. Solheim Cup Team players that she will captain in 2017.
“If there’s anybody you need to beat out here, it’s her because she works so hard at it,” said Hurst, who tied the tournament’s low score with her 4-under 68 in the final round. “She practices hard and works hard on her game and on her body. She’s an iron woman.”
Donna Andrews (71) of North Carolina and Michele Redman (72) of Minnesota tied for third at even-par 144, while Alfredsson, who resides in Orlando, Fla., and Australians Wendy Doolan (76) of Lakeland, Fla., and Jan Stephenson (71) of New Port Richey, Fla., tied for fifth at one-over 145.
Stephenson also won the Legends Honors Division trophy for players 63 and over, rallying from her opening-round, 2-over 74 to a one-under 71 in the final round to defend her division title in spite of a three-putt bogey on the first hole today.
The Australian wrestled with her putter for two days, but was determined to fight her way to win the division honors. Even with the win comfortably in hand as she reached the 18th green in Sunday’s final round, it was a matter of pride for Stephenson to save par from 10 feet on the last hole.
“I was nervous on the last hole because I hit a terrible wedge shot, but I didn’t want to finish with a bogey,” she said. “Getting that trophy really means a lot.”
For complete final scores, visit http://leaderboard.thelegendstour.com/?TID=68
For more information about The Legends Tour, the official senior tour of the LPGA, visit www.thelegendstour.com.