It could very well go down as one of the greatest final-round performances in Epson Tour history. Dottie Ardina, five strokes back of the lead held by Emma Broze entering Saturday, fired a bogey-free, 7-under 65 at Copper Rock Golf Course in Hurricane, Utah, to win the Copper Rock Championship by two strokes at 5-under par.
“I wanted to have fun out there and my goal was 5-under to have a chance. But 7-under is even better,” said Ardina, who hit all 14 fairways. “There was never that moment because [my playing partner] Anita [Uwadia] was making a lot of birdies too, so I kind of lost track on the back nine. We were both making birdies to stay close with each other. And I did not want to check the leaderboards.”
Ardina turned professional in April 2013. Over the years on the Epson Tour, especially in 2018, she has endured numerous close calls. That season alone, Ardina finished runner-up at the Symetra Classic, Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic and the PHC Classic. She also ended in a tie for second on two other occasions at the Donald Ross Classic and the IOA Golf Classic.
For those reasons, this win means that much more to Ardina. The two fist pumps following her 12-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to seal victory captured all her emotion.
“I kept saying to myself, ‘Calm down, calm down, put a good stroke on it and you’ll make the putt.’ I did not look at a leaderboard until No. 18,” said Ardina. “I kept my focus on the line for the putt and as soon as it hit the spot I wanted it, that’s when I did the fist pumps because I knew it was going in.
“I’ve played good golf the last few years and knew I was due. I wasn’t expecting it this week because of the weather, but took advantage of how nice it was today.”
Marta Sanz Barrio (67) and Laetitia Beck (68) each finished at 3-under par to share second place, while Jaravee Boonchant (68), Anita Uwadia (68) and Amelia Garvey (71) ended 2-under to tie for fourth. Five players tied for seventh including 36-hole leader Broze, who shot a 3-over 75 in the final round.
Sophie Hausmann (E, T7) on rounds of 69-66 after opening with a 9-over 81:
“I made a couple mistakes in the first round but if you look at the scores for the players that teed off after 11:30 [a.m. local time], it was self-explanatory. I did feel like, ‘Ok, we have some work to do,’ when I signed the scorecard but then yesterday was cold, windy and rainy, and I felt good playing because it was not easy. Today, I started with a bogey on No. 2 after this awful tee shot. I was like, ‘Alright, are you awake right now?’ Since then, it was overall very solid. I didn’t think about being near the top until late, but at the end the putts just didn’t go in. If somebody had told me that I would finish the tournament at even par, I would have been like, ‘Where do I sign?’ It was a great comeback.”
Lucy Li (+3, T17) on her hole-in-one at the par-3 6th with a 9-iron from 150 yards:
“It was downhill, kind of in a bowl. Hit it straight at the pin and it was trickling toward the hole. I thought it was going to break left and my caddies goes, ‘That’s going in.’ It was pretty cool because that is one of the only hole-in-ones I have ever seen go in. It’s either No. 6 or 7 for me. The weather was much better today and I was striking it well. I got my revenge on the hole after a double bogey yesterday.”
Kate Smith (+3, T17) on a 5-under 67 final round, her career-best score to date as a rookie:
“I’m trying to learn as quickly as I can out here as a rookie. I’m slowly figuring out what works for me out here and I’m excited to see what can happen when I put together a few good rounds in a week.”
ABOUT EPSON TOUR
The Epson Tour (formerly the Symetra Tour) is the official qualifying tour of the LPGA Tour and enters its 42nd competitive season in 2022. With the support of entitlement partner Seiko Epson Corporation, the Tour’s mission is to prepare the world’s best female professional golfers for a successful career on the LPGA Tour. In the last decade, the Epson Tour has grown from 15 tournaments and $1.6 million in prize money to $4.41 million awarded across 20+ events in 2022. With more than 600 graduates and alumnae moving on to the LPGA Tour, former Epson Tour players have won 459 LPGA titles.
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