Angela Stanford was signing autographs on Sunday as leader Amy Olson reached the green at 18.
Olson only needed a par to win The Evian Championship in at Evian-les-Bains, France. Stanford then found a big video screen to see if Olson would seal the deal or if the two would be headed for a playoff.
But it got even better for Stanford as Olson missed the par putt and the ensuing 6-footer for bogey. Suddenly, Stanford was the winner of her first major title in the 436th start and 76th major of her LGPA career.
“Lot of relief,” the 40-year-old Stanford said after her sixth career victory earned her $577,500. “Sometimes you just never know if it is going to happen or not. You play by faith and hope and hope it works out for you and it finally did.”
Stanford finished at 12-under-par 272 after carding a 3-under 68 in the final round. Fellow Americans Olson (final-round 74), Austin Ernst (68) and Mo Martin (70) and South Korea’s Sei Young Kim (72) all were one shot back.
The most painful finish belonged to Olson, who was the third-round leader. She led by three strokes with five holes to play and still was in position to win when she walked toward the green on 18.
But a disastrous sequence turned a possible first career LPGA victory into a bitter tie for second. The collapse began when she hooked her tee shot into the rough and concluded with a three-putt on the green.
“It’s disappointing to finish like that,” the 26-year-old Olson said after a round consisting of two birdies, three bogeys and the double-bogey. “I committed to every shot and did everything I could.”
Stanford made things interesting with a birdie on the par-5 15 but followed up with a painful double-bogey on 16. She recovered for a birdie on 17 before carding a par on 18.
“I’m proud I didn’t give up because 16 was a disaster,” Stanford said. “That’s me. I’ve never given up. It was nice that it ended well this time.”
Stanford’s card included the eagle, four birdies, one bogey and the double-bogey. The breakthrough victory still felt surreal to her moments after the match.
She was the runner-up at the U.S. Women’s Open in 2003 but a breakthrough win remained elusive.
“I don’t really know yet but the beginning is pretty good,” Stanford said when asked how it felt to have won a major.
Ernst made three birdies during a bogey-free round, Martin had three birdies and two bogeys and Kim carded three birdies, two bogeys and one double-bogey.
American Ryann O’Toole (69) and South Korea’s Jeongeun Lee6 (69) tied for sixth, two shots behind Stanford. American Jessica Korda (68) and South Korea’s Inbee Park (71) were another shot back.
–Field Level Media