GREENWOOD, S.C. — A final round 5-under par 67 propelled 11th year professional Vicky Hurst (Melbourne, Florida) to victory today at The Links at Stoney Point in the last Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic.
“This one feels very special. It’s Mother’s Day and my mom was caddying for me,” said Hurst, who carded four birdies, an eagle and a bogey today. “It was great to come out with a win with her on the bag. I played really solid all week and I was really proud of myself staying with a steady game.”
At 9-under par overall, the victory now gives Hurst eight career Symetra Tour wins, the most in Tour history. In addition, she becomes the first American to win this event in its five-year tenure.
“That sounds pretty good, I didn’t know that,” said Hurst, who captured her first Symetra Tour win at the 2008 Jalapeño Golf Classic. “Hopefully I can keep that up and continue to do that on the LPGA Tour.”
For Hurst’s mother Koko, seeing her daughter win on Mother’s Day was extra special.
“We’re looking for this moment for a long time,” said Koko. “I’m glad that she’s coming back from wrist injury and finally there’s no pain. Slowly she’s gaining confidence. She be where she belong. I just look at her as my daughter and want her to do well.”
Entering the day, Hurst was tied for the lead at 4-under par overall with Dottie Ardina (Laguna, Philippines) and Jenny Haglund (Karlstad, Sweden). The two comprised the final pairing, with Hurst in the penultimate group.
Haglund was consistent the entire round, using three birdies and one bogey to shoot 2-under par 70 and finish tied for third with three others at 6-under par. As for Ardina, she approached No. 18 green having reached the par-5 in two, needing to make the putt for eagle.
“My caddy told me after I hit my second shot,” said Ardina, who went 4-under par today to finish in solo second at 8-under. “He didn’t tell me that before my second shot which is good, or I would have hit it somewhere else. I gave myself a good chance. Vicky really did good today.”
The win earns Hurst a winner’s share of $30,000 and launches her into the No. 1 position in the Volvik Race for the Card, with $34,007 made in two Symetra Tour starts this season. Meanwhile, a total of 10 players finished at 4-under par overall or better and they represented seven different countries.
MOTHER’S DAY MAGIC
While Vicky Hurst came away the winner of the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic with her mom on the bag this Mother’s Day, Linnea Ström (Hovas, Sweden) and Charlotte Thomas (Guildford, England) also turned in some stellar performances.
It just so happens that each had their mom caddying for them, too.
Ström started the day tied for 26th at 2-over par and ended tied for third at 6-under par overall, having turned in an 8-under performance. It featured nine birdies, including three straight to finish the round, and only one bogey.
“I birdied No. 10, then I saw my host family and just started making putts, hitting it closer to the pin,” said Ström, who fired a back nine 29. “I felt that I didn’t have anything to lose, could just go out there, have fun and enjoy the last round with my mom. On the front nine, she told me to just be patient, the putts would start dropping soon. They did.”
Even though Mother’s Day isn’t celebrated in Sweden until next Sunday, it’s a sweet celebration on American soil for Ström and her mother Helena, who heads back to the homeland tomorrow.
“She’s played well for two weeks, so I just wanted her to get this. I knew she would have it someday soon,” Helena said. “It was very nice to be here with her. Everything was easy for her today.”
As for Thomas, she also started today tied for 26th, but finished tied for seventh at 5-under par overall. With her mom on the bag, Thomas signed a 7-under par card, with six birdies, an eagle and just one bogey on it, including an eagle-birdie-birdie finish.
“We had a lot of fun. She caddies a lot, so it was kind of like any other day, but I wanted to play well today just because it was Mother’s Day,” said Thomas, who put together a personalized Spotify playlist for her mom. “We were creative with our gift this year. It’s like a poem, all of the song titles. I don’t actually know very many of the songs on it, but the playlist itself reads like a letter.”
For Thomas’ mother Fleur, her daughter’s play at The Links at Stoney Point was simply icing on the cake.
“It was just really fun. The eagle on No. 16 was a big bonus,” Fleur said. “She already gave me a great Mother’s Day present, anyway. She said you don’t want to listen to the playlist because it’s rubbish, but the titles make it sweet.”
SYMETRA TOUR TALENT RESHUFFLED UP LPGA TOUR PRIORITY LIST
After the Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic, the LPGA Tour Priority List went through its first reshuffle of 2018.
A group of 11 players that started the season out on the Symetra Tour, but have competed in several LPGA Tour events in recent weeks through their conditional status, have shot up the chart based on their LPGA money list ranking so far this year.
Furthermore, seven individuals were in the field for the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic, with four making the cut to play the weekend in Greenwood.
“Keep the game fresh and balance the two because you never know at the end of the year,” said rookie Maddie McCrary (Wylie, Texas), who shot 1-under par in the final round to finish tied for 22nd at 1-under overall. “If you’re in the top-10 here, or trying to get your full card through the LPGA, trying to balance them both is really hard.”
Of the four that made the cut, Brittany Marchand (Mississauga, Ontario) had the highest finish at 5-under overall. Not far behind was Daniela Iacobelli (Melbourne, Florida) at 3-under overall and Lauren Kim (Los Altos, California) at 2-under overall.
“This for me was week six (in a row),” said Iacobelli, a LPGA Tour current year top-80 performer. “If there’s a week off, I’m going to play out here, wherever. I don’t want to go home, I want to work. This is what I waited five months in the offseason for. There’s a couple tournaments I’m sad that I’m going to miss out here, but I don’t think they want to see me back either. They’re happy to see me moving up.”
VICKY HURST WINNER'S INTERVIEW