SCHECHTER CROWNED FOUR WINDS INVITATIONAL CHAMPION
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A five-stroke deficit and 55-minute weather delay did not phase Maia Schechter (Chapel Hill, N.C.) today, who fired a 6-under par 66 in the final round of the Four Winds Invitational to come away the victor.
After missing the cut in five of the first six tournaments this year, Schechter put it all together at Blackthorn Golf Club with an 11-under par overall showing. The win is her first on the Symetra Tour.
“It has been a lot of hard work and it definitely hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Schechter, who signed a bogey-free card this afternoon. “It was really just sticking to the gameplan that I had created at the beginning of the week. I feel like the game has been getting really good and felt really solid early in the week. Just been hitting good shots and making some good putts.”
The University of North Carolina alumna continues the trend of 2018 Symetra Tour champions all hailing from outside the final pairing. Climbing back into the hunt before eventually taking the cake was never in doubt for Schechter, who said her pre-tournament preparation got her ready for a result like this.
“I checked my fundamentals at the beginning of this week,” Schechter said. “My grip was getting a little weak and my stance was getting a little closed, so working on those two things I think was really helpful. It gave me a process and focused goal of getting a good setup on every shot.”
Meanwhile, off the course, Schechter and Leslie Cloots (Antwerp, Belgium) have teamed up to form “Birdiecast,” a new podcast about life on Tour. She pointed to the show as a factor in helping keep her mind at ease throughout the week.
“It has definitely been really helpful, that in-between shot time is something to focus on that’s outside of golf, but still relates to the golf world,” said Schechter. "We’ve been having a lot of fun doing that and is something to do during the week when they get a little long and you’re trying to kill some time.”
The win and $22,500 winner’s check launches Schechter to No. 7 in the Volvik Race for the Card, with $23,355 earned in seven starts. She entered the Four Winds Invitational at No. 132.
As for the 36-hole leaders, Louise Stahle (Lund, Sweden) went even par today and finished tied for second at 10-under, while Samantha Wagner (Windermere, Florida) shot 1-over par to end tied for fourth at 9-under.
WAGNER LEARNS FROM FINAL ROUND PERFORMANCE
Today’s final round at the 7th annual Four Winds Invitational was nothing to hang her head about and don’t think Samantha Wagner will after concluding her seventh career Symetra Tour tournament tied for fourth.
“I stayed really patient all day,” said Wagner. “When the weather got kind of rough, I stayed really patient.”
Perhaps the greatest aspect Wagner can take away from today is that she didn’t deviate from her aggressive style of play, which got her into the final pairing to begin with. Even though she went 1-over par for the final round, she still notices a light at the end of the tunnel.
“On No. 9 I took a chance, like I said I’ve been an aggressive player and I went for the green,” said Wagner, who recorded three bogeys on the afternoon. “It didn’t pay off, but I kept giving myself birdie chances and just wasn’t making anything. I know it’s coming, I’m playing really well right now.”
When they say you have to learn to win, it really is true and Wagner will be the first to tell you. The last time she came out victorious was in June of 2017 at the U.S. Women’s Open Sectional Qualifying Round she competed in. Before that, it was the 2016 Pat Bradley Invitational during Wagner’s sophomore year at the University of Florida.
“It’s just a process, keep giving yourself those opportunities,” Wagner said. “The past couple months I’ve been playing some really good golf and things have been moving in the right direction. I was really happy with how this week played out. It’s disappointing not to win, but putting myself in contention is a great feeling.”
With the result this week capturing $6,581, Wagner jumps from No. 39 to No. 23 in the Volvik Race for the Card with $12,821 earned through seven events played.
RACE FOR POTAWATOMI CUP IS OFF AND RUNNING
The Four Winds Invitational marks the first of four events that comprise the Potawatomi Cup and Maia Schechter sure got the race off to a roaring start.
She takes over the No. 1 position in the points standings, earning 500 points for the win.
“Definitely is a good start to the series and they support women’s golf so much,” said Schechter. “To start the race in first place is a really big deal and just need to keep it going.”
Meanwhile, Louise Stahle and Eun Jeong Seong (Yongin, Republic of Korea) are tied for second, not far behind with 245 points.
Furthermore, with how things played out today, three players sit tied for fourth at 115 points in Stephanie Meadow (Jordanstown, Northern Ireland), Nontaya Srisawang (Chiang Mai, Thailand) and Samantha Wagner.
The next tournament in the Potawatomi Cup series is the Island Resort Championship in Harris, Mich., from June 22-24 at Sweetgrass Golf Club.
MAIA SCHECHTER FINAL ROUND INTERVIEW