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Stark triumphs after firing course record

Maja Stark fired an exceptional course record of 10-under 63 on the final day of the ISPS Handa World Invitational to win by five strokes.

The 22-year-old began the day two shots behind overnight leader Amanda Doherty but got off to a sensational start with birdies on the first, third, fifth and sixth.

Stark added rolled in two more back-to-back on eight and nine to make the turn in 31 (-6), but the Swedish star didn’t stop there.

From holes 12 through to 14 she rolled in three birdies consecutively before making another on the 17th and despite finding the water on the last, Stark made the up-and-down for par to win with a total of 20-under-par.

“I don’t think it’s landed yet,” said the five-time LET winner. “I was just feeling so nervous. All day, I just kind of reminded myself to be calm and just take it one shot at a time, but it’s been easier said than done.”

“I think playing three holes at a time was a big key because it would just be so easy to think I’m whatever under par, and then you kind of crumble after that because you get too nervous. But every time, I was like, just three more holes, three more holes.”

“I tried to not watch the leaderboards. I usually do, but I just thought, well that’s not going to help me, so I tried to not look at them. Then I caught a glimpse of one on 13 and saw I was leading, but it was still pretty tight at the top, and then I tried to not look at it. Then I walked up on 17 green, and I saw that I was leading by five and thought whoa this is nice.”

After winning the tri-sanctioned event, Stark officially accepted LPGA Tour Membership and will become a rookie for the rest of 2022.

American Allisen Corpuz finished in second place on 15-under-par after producing a round of 68 (-5) on the final day at Galgorm.

“I played really solidly,” she said. “It is tough to beat 10-under par, but it was really awesome to play with Maja and just see how well she played. Plus, to be able to play a really good weekend, as well, for myself.”

“My putting was back from vacation this week, so it was really great just seeing some really good putts roll today, and finally kind of figuring out a couple of things in my swing. I’m going to go home and work hard and see if I can do one better.”

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