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Dottie, Bianca close Ohio stints with 67s

‘I think I could be a bit more relaxed.’

BIANCA Pagdanganan’s final-round brilliance allows her to finish tied for 41st. | Photograph courtesy of Bianca Pagdanganan IG

SYLVANIA, Ohio (AFP) — Sweden’s Linn Grant captured her first LPGA title on Sunday, following up her stunning third-round 62 with a three-under par 68 to win the Dana Open by three strokes from US Open champion Allisen Corpuz.

Grant had entered the final round at Highland Meadows with a six-shot lead, having flirted with the second-ever 59 in LPGA history on the way to her nine-under third round.

“I think I could be a bit more relaxed,” she said of the big lead.

“But I knew this course was very scoreable. So in my mind I was just thinking someone was going to shoot the same score I did yesterday.”

That didn’t happen, and four birdies with one bogey was more than enough to secure the win with a 21-under total of 263.

Corpuz, fresh from capturing her first major title at Pebble Beach last Sunday, did manage to apply some pressure with six birdies in a six-under par 65 that left her in second place on 18-under par 266.

Eclipsed by the Grant’s dominance was the final-round brilliance of Filipinas Dottie Ardina and Bianca Pagdanganan who both turned in four-under-par 67.

Ardina dotted her scorecard with five birdies against a single bogey for 278 total, tying for 26th. The 29-year-old, ranked 270th in the world, banked $14,952.

The 25-year-old Pagdanganan decorated her round with four birdies to finish at joint 41st with a 281 total. Ranked just one notch below Ardina in the World, Pagdanganan pocketed $7,406.

Grant’s performance earned her $262,500.

But Corpuz admitted that going into the final round six adrift she never really expected to be challenging for the trophy.

“Linn’s such a solid player,” she said.

“And a six-shot lead is tough to overcome. I really just tried to come out and just give it my best shot.”

Grant made seven straight pars before birdies at the par-three eighth and par-four 11th.

A birdie at 13 was followed by her lone bogey of the day at 14, but she pulled a stroke back at the par-five finishing hole.

“I’ve imagined this day so many times, so many ways in my own mind,” Grant said.

“Just being here now I’m just so speechless and at the same time I feel familiar with the setting for some reason.”

Grant, 24, earned her LPGA tour card for last season but was barred from the US because of Covid vaccination requirements.

She had four top-10 finishes in six LPGA starts outside the United States last year plus four Ladies European Tour  triumphs and won her fifth LET title in May in France.

Now she’ll take added confidence into the next two majors of the season, the Evian Championship in France and the British Women’s Open.

“I feel like I’m in great form at the moment,” she said.

“I really like that (Evian) golf course. I’m really excited to go back and play there again.”

Corpuz, who has been caught up in a whirlwind since her US Open triumph, said her first priority this coming week would be “a lot of sleep.”

“Seeing a couple of friends to celebrate,” she said of her other plans, then “just repacking the bags for Europe.”

“I missed the cut at both Evian and British last year,” Corpuz said.

“So have a lot of room for improvement. The game feels really solid so (I’ll) just try to keep doing the same thing.”

American Lindy Duncan matched Corpuz’s 65 to finish alone in third on 269. Australian Stephanie Kyriacou and China’s Lin Xiyu shared fourth on 270.

Kyriacou played alongside Grant and said the experience added to an instructive week.

“I learned a whole lot about the mental side of golf,” she said of the week.

“How to deal with nerves and all that stuff. So a lot of things to take away from this week, even though one wasn’t a trophy.”

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