ROCHESTER, N.Y. — There was more than just her first professional win and a $33,750 winner’s check that came along with the Donald Ross Classic title, as Stephanie Kono (Honolulu, Hawaii) jumped 79 spots to No. 6 in the Volvik Race for the Card to claim our “Move of the Week.”
“I’ve always dreamt of winning out here and it’s so hard, there’s so many good players that everything has to come together in that week,” said Kono, who has made $38,388 through nine events played. “I’m just really thankful that it did because you believe that it will, but there’s times that you doubt it, for sure. No matter what happens, I’ll always remember it.”
Furthermore, because the tournament served as the “flagship” event on the 2018 Symetra Tour schedule, the former UCLA standout earned points toward the Rolex Women’s World Golf rankings, where she climbed 429 places to No. 381.
Now only $481 behind the current No. 5 in Elizabeth Szokol (Winnetka, Illinois), who fell two positions in the standings, the victory may have changed Kono’s outlook on the rest of the season, but it won’t change her gameplan or routine. She feels that she has done what is needed to find success on a consistent basis.
“I’m excited that I moved up, but I’m not going to do anything different,” Kono said. “As long as I keep putting the work in, we’ll just see what happens.”
Meanwhile, a tied for second finish in French Lick, Ind., for Dottie Ardina (Laguna, Philippines) landed her $18,258 and moved her comfortably into the No. 1 position with $58,563 earned in seven starts. Jenny Haglund (Karlstad, Sweden), who previously held the top spot, missed the cut last week and is now second at $49,751.
“When I recently decided to do the Symetra Tour full-time, I set a personal goal of making six figures, so yes my goal is to be No. 1 at the end of the season,” said Ardina, who also has two solo second-place results this season. “The Symetra Tour this year is filled with a lot of great players that can definitely play at the LPGA Tour level. I'm just going to focus on my goals.”
Checking in at No. 3 is Isi Gabsa (Munich, Germany) with $46,512, followed by Ruixin Liu (Dalian, China), who has amassed $40,175.
After Kono in the bottom half of the top-10 is Stephanie Meadow (Jordanstown, Northern Ireland), just $81 back of the most recent Symetra Tour champion. Then, following the former University of Alabama star is Karen Chung (Livingston, N.J.). She moved up 13 spots thanks to matching Ardina at 10-under par overall in the Donald Ross Classic.
“Everyone is fighting for their card,” said Chung, who has collected $36,661. “We are down to the second half of the season, so going to have to play consistent throughout. I like where I am right now, but we still have 10 more weeks left. Anything can happen.”
Rounding out the top-10 is Vicky Hurst (Melbourne, Florida) and Pajaree Anannarukarn (Bangkok, Thailand) with $34,007 and $33,067, respectively. Both players dropped two places this week.