MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN, August 21, 2016 - Laura Gonzalez Escallon (La Hulpe, Belgium) trailed by one shot heading into the 18th hole, but hit the shot of her life with a 56-degree wedge to a foot and made birdie to win the PHC Classic at Brown Deer Park on Sunday night. Erynne Lee (Silverdale, Washington) led going into the 18th, but made bogey after missing her approach in the back bunker. Gonzalez Escallon becomes the fourth player to earn a second win.
Gonzalez Escallon carded a 4-under, 68 in the final round to win at 10-under, 206.
Gonzalez Escallon picks up the first-place check of $15,000 to move from tenth on the Volvik Race for the Card money list to sixth with $59,947 earned in 16 events. There are only six events remaining in the season and she will play in five of them.
“I couldn’t go for it in two shots, it was too risky,” said Gonzalez Escallon, on why she decided to lay up down by one shot on the par-5. “I layed up to my favorite yardage (85 yards) to where I could take a full swing. With adrenaline kicking in, I knew I would be close if I hit it good. I didn’t see where it landed because of the sun, but I heard the screams so I knew it was awesome.”
Gonzalez Escallon nearly holed it for eagle as it rolled just a foot past the pin. She marked the ball. Lee landed in the bunker and her fourth shot rolled 25-feet past the pin and she two putted for bogey. Gonzalez Escallon made the easy putt for birdie.
“I was hoping for a playoff at best, which I didn’t really want because I played nine holes this morning (resumption of round two),” said Gonzalez Escallon. “I was really just thinking to try and get it to a playoff.”
Gonzalez Escallon said she was so nervous over her short tap in to win the tournament.
“I was not expecting this, I was just focusing on good shots and good putts,” said Gonzalez Escallon. “After my nine holes this morning, I called my coach and he gave me a couple pointers. It hasn’t really sunk in yet. Honestly, I can’t believe I did it because I was one back on 18.”
Gonzalez Escallon has been tremendous over the last six events. She has five top 10 finishes and two wins.
“I’m just really comfortable out there,” said Gonzalez Escallon. “My game is feeling really good and my coach keeps telling me to just go out there and do your best and it has been working out.”
Gonzalez Escallon, the only player from Belgium to ever win on the Symetra Tour, has earned $47,725 of her $59,947 over the last six events.
The former Purdue All-American celebrated with a big group hug from her host family. She met Mark, the father, at a pro-am at the Island Resort Championship a couple years ago.
“I told them about this event last year and they signed up to play in the pro-am and Mark wanted me to stay with his family,” explained Gonzalez Escallon. “They have a family similar to mine, three daughters and I have two sisters. It’s just funny to be there and see how they interact, it makes me feel like I am at home.”
Gonzalez Escallon, who speaks four languages, has two other connections to Wisconsin. She won the Big Ten Championships as a freshman at Purdue in Madison and her caddy this week, Ryan, is a college golfer at Cardinal Stritch.
“I’m going to have to skip one event, which is awesome because I get to play The Evian Championship, but in my head I’m trying to get as much money as I can before I go to France because I’ll skip one event,” said Gonzalez Escallon. “I’m just having a blast right now.”
Meanwhile, Lee moved from 15th to 13th with her second place result.
“It feels a little bit like deja vu because a couple weeks ago at the Tullymore Classic I was one stroke back going into 18 and I wasn’t able to get up and down from the bunker,” said Lee. “It is a little bit harder to swallow because I was leading.”
Lee was a class act after suffering a heartbreaking second place result. Just 15 minutes after falling short, she tweeted the following: “Thank you #PHCClassic and #BrownDeerPark for hosting @Road2LPGA this week, especially with the weather. Loved the course, reminds me of Washington!”
Augusta James (Bath, Ontario) dropped a clutch birdie putt from 10-feet on the 18th hole to finish in solo third. She moves from 13th to 12th on the money list.
GONZALEZ ESCALLON WINS POTAWATOMI CUP: In addition to the PHC Classic trophy, Gonzalez Escallon won the Potawatomi Cup by winning two of the four Potawatomi nation sponsored events. She also won the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship in Battle Creek.
Gonzalez Escallon edged out Jackie Stoelting and earned a $6,000 bonus for accumulating the most points. She earned a total of $12,000 in bonus money through the Potawatomi Cup.