EL DORADO, ARKANSAS, October 2, 2016 - Madelene Sagstrom (Enkoping, Sweden) stumbled early, but made three straight birdies in the middle of the front nine and won her third tournament of the year with a final-round 72 at the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout on Sunday. Sagstrom finished with a three-day total of 7-under, 209 to win by two shots. Becca Huffer (Denver, Colorado) and Augusta James (Bath, Ontario) shared second place at 5-under, 211.
The first-place check of $15,000 increases Sagstrom’s record-setting total to $156,184. Earlier this season, she became the first player to crack $100,000 in Tour history and now she is the first to surpass $150,000.
“I started off really rough with three bogeys on the first four holes, but I found a good thought that was
working and I eventually found my rhythm,” said Sagstrom. “I made two runs of three birdies in a row and I was really happy about that. I’m just really happy with the way I composed myself.”
Sagstrom secures Symetra Player of the Year, Gaelle Truet Rookie of the Year and the top spot on the final Volvik Race for the Card money list with her win.
“This season has meant so much to me and all the awards mean a lot to me,” said Sagstrom. “I knew I was close to closing out the award (Player of the Year) and I feel accomplished but I also realize that I can’t focus on those things to perform at my best. I’m now really looking forward to the Symetra Tour Championship, which will be my last event.”
Sagstrom, 23, had a three shot lead heading into the final-round, but that quickly dissipated after the early bogeys. She recovered by reeling off birdies on holes five, six and seven. Sagstrom took a three shot lead to the tenth hole.
Things got interesting as she made bogey on ten and Becca Huffer, who was playing three groups in front, was on a hot stretch and tied Sagstrom for the lead. Again, she rose to the occasion with back-to-back-to-back birdies on 11, 12 and 13 to get some breathing room and seize complete control. Trouble struck on 14 as she made double and the lead was down to two with four to play. As she has done all year, Sagstrom calmly made back-to-back pars on 15 and 16 and then birdied 17 to build the lead to three.
Although she made bogey on 18, Sagstrom had the tournament well in hand.
“Mystic Creek provided a really great challenge this week and I’m really starting to believe that I can be out there (LPGA) with those girls next year,” said Sagstrom. “I’m going to keep working on my game and we will see what happens when I am out there (LPGA).”
Sagstom, who has repeated numerous times that the season has not been as easy as it would appear on paper with all her success, said she is most proud of how she evaluated her golf this year.
“I’m really happy with the choices I’ve made and the changes I’ve made because I’ve really worked hard on trying to come out a little bit better every year and I’ve been consistent with that,” said Sagstrom. “The small things like not acting out after a bad shot is one thing I am really, really proud of this year.”
In 14 starts this year on the Symetra Tour, Sagstrom has three wins and 11 top 10 finishes.
Sagstrom’s third win does earn a “Battlefield Promotion” to the LPGA for 2016, but there are no more domestic full-field events that she could get into.
James’ tie for second moved her from 14th to 13th on the money list, but more importantly bumped her to within $5,000 of tenth on the money list with two events left.
BECCA HUFFER HAS CAREER BEST FINISH: Becca Huffer posted a 4-under, 68 on Sunday to move to a tie for second with Augusta James, which is the best finish of her career.
“I had a little stretch where I was hitting them nice and close and making putts so it was good,” said Huffer. “I had an eagle on the hole before Luciane (Lee) made a hole-in-one so that was a cool stretch.”
Huffer moves from 52nd to 34th with the tie for second and has now earned $24,011 in 20 starts.
“If I can put a few more top five results together than skipping Stage II (of LPGA Qualifying Tournament) is a possibility,” said Huffer. “I’ve been playing really well heading into the end of the season and I am feeling good about my game.”
LUCIANE LEE MAKES ACE ON HOLE 12: Luciane Lee (Sao Paulo, Brazil) made her second career hole-in-one on the 12th hole Sunday at Mystic Creek. She also made birdie on the 18th hole to finish 1-under for the day and T8 for the tournament.
She used an 8-iron from 142-yards out.
“My first one was in Fort Myers last year and it was a day too early to win a car,” said Lee. “This is my second ever and both have been in professional Symetra Tour events. It took one hop and then just rolled right in.”