Isi Gabsa (Munich, Germany) became a first-time winner on the Symetra Tour with a birdie on the fourth playoff hole to outlast Jillian Hollis in a sudden-death playoff at the 34th annual Forsyth Classic presented by Decatur Park District. A former two-time winner on the Ladies European Tour (LET) Access Series, Gabsa jumped into the Volvik Race for the Card top-10 following the victory, making her 2018 top-10 debut at No. 5 in the standings.
GABSA: MY WEEK IN DECATUR AT THE FORSYTH CLASSIC AND WHY A FRIEND’S TEXT HELPED ME WIN
It was the first time for me in Decatur, Illinois, so I had no idea what to expect. Of course I asked friends who previously played at Hickory Point Golf Course what it was like. They told me that it’s a fairly easy course to score. As I played my practice round, I didn’t see why it would be easy to score. The course was in great shape, but I didn’t find it easy. With all the rain Decatur had the days leading up to the tournament, the course played fairly long.
I did all my preparation like every week, and tried to putt as much as I could. I work a lot on my pitching and shorter irons and I knew, if I could translate my work to the course, that I could shoot low. It worked really well in the first two rounds. As I got to the final round, it got tougher to bring the changes to the course. For me, it was the first time being in the final pairing of a Symetra Tour event and my nerves got in the way a little bit, but I saved a lot with my putting at the beginning. I always try to focus on my game and on the things I can control, and that’s certainly not my score. I just try to prepare every shot the best I can; everything else I can’t control. Once I remembered that, my game was back.
We played four playoff holes, my heart beating as crazy as ever on the first hole. My drive ended up behind the tree to the right of the fairway, but it wasn’t a big deal for me because I’ve been in many situations like that before. I knew my 50-degree wedge would get over the tree and combined with my adrenaline, figured it would go 20 yards longer, a perfect distance to the pin. It worked and I ended up 10 feet short of the flagstick. Jillian didn’t seem to be nervous at all and she hit it straight down the fairway and onto the middle of the green. We both missed our putts. Back to the tee box we went. Two more times we would tie the 18th hole and the more often we went back to the tee, the more relaxed I became.
Somehow during the playoff, I remembered a text that a friend sent before the final round. It said, “Enjoy your round, a lot of players would be more than happy to be in your position.” That come back into my mind on the fourth playoff hole and I started to enjoy the whole situation I found myself in. I would hit my wedge to 6 feet, just short of the pin, while Jillian was 20 feet right of the flag. She missed her putt and I had the birdie putt to win. The only thing that went through my mind was how cool it is that I have the chance to win the tournament with this putt and no matter what happens, I would be happy with the way I played. Needless to say, I made it for my first Symetra Tour win. As I head up to Harris, Mich., for the Island Resort Championship, the feelings are still coming to me. It really is an unreal feeling!