PORT ST. LUCIE, Florida – Sometimes in golf, it’s best not to play your best. Less can, in fact, bear more and that was the case on Tuesday for Lisa Grimes, the Director of Instruction at Alexandria (Minnesota) Golf Club. Shouldering a 6-shot advantage entering the final round, Lisa Grimes (67-70-76, 213) fashioned a final-round 76 to win the 2018 Women’s Stroke Play Championship by three over PGA of America Vice President Suzy Whaley (216) of Cromwell Connecticut.
Nathalie Filler (218) of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida and Jessica Carafiello (219) of Old Greenwich, Connecticut finished third and fourth, respectively. (Final Results)
In the aftermath of Monday’s second round, Grimes spoke of staying “aggressive,” but her game plan changed overnight.
“I played protective golf,” said Grimes. “You don’t want to be too bold out here as it can add up really fast. Today wasn’t my normal game, but I got it in. I did not hit as many greens. I decided not to risk going over these greens, so I kept hitting it short. I was putting from the fringe a lot, which is fine, as it led to a good number of pars.”
Grimes' strategy worked, she was even-par through 15 holes, toggling two bogeys (Nos. 7, 10) with her only two birdies (8, 13) of the day. From there, she admittedly “limped in,” going bogey-double bogey-bogey on 16, 17 and 18.
The lesson was that 51 holes of stellar play could not be undone by a pedestrian three-hole finish.
“To play like this, overall, in the first tournament of the year, was fun,” she said. “It’s always nice coming into a new year to confirm that I still have a good game. This will get me out playing more and into what I call, ‘tournament mode.’ I’ll take it.”
What Grimes will take from PGA Golf Club this week, beyond her share ($2,200) of the purse, is an exemption into this summer’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, which will be contested June 28 – July 1 at Kemper Lakes Golf Club in Kildeer, Illinois.
Kemper Lakes is a seven-plus hour drive from Grimes’ home in Minnesota.
Grimes has played in the last two KPMG Women’s PGA Championships, in 2016 at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Washington and 2017 at Olympia Fields (Illinois) Country Club.
After signing her scorecard, Grimes was pleased not only with her own play, but what she’d experienced on Florida’s Treasure Coast.
“This was a good, quality field. I was pleased to see the high caliber of players here, and that unfortunately does not include a few others, like Laurie Rinker, who had to withdraw. Otherwise we would have had a really strong field.”
The PGA Winter Championships, conducted by the PGA of America, are presented by Golf Advisor and PrimeSport.