Erica Popson has put herself in position to win golf tournaments in the past, only to blow it on the final day.
No such problem Sunday, as Popson played a steady final round to win the Symetra Classic at Raintree Country Club.
Popson, 25, won her first career LPGA Symetra Tour event by finishing the three-day tournament at 8-under-par 208, two shots ahead of second-round leader Kendall Dye, Jenni Jenq and Australia’s Emma de Groot.
“I feel like I’ve been playing some good golf this year and putting myself up there, and kinda tanking on the last day,” said Popson, who shot a 2-under 70 in Sunday’s final round, and watched as the frontrunners struggled to stay atop the leader board.
“I was talking to (coach) Roger (Masterson) … and he said, ‘Well, now you know what the bad story feels like, so now try and flip the coin and see what the good story feels like.’ So all day I was just trying to stay within my game … and just trying to write the good story.”
Second-day leader Kendall Dye struggled to a 4-over 76 Sunday. Meanwhile, second place Augusta James of Canada also shot 76 Sunday.
Three who mattered
Erica Popson: While others had better rounds Sunday, Popson was the most consistent over the three days, with 10 birdies and just two bogeys over 54 holes.
Jenni Jenq: The Saratoga, Calif., native tied for the day’s best round with Nicole Sakamoto, posting her second straight 4-under 68 for her best career finish.
Emma de Groot: The Australian was challenging for the lead when she missed a short par putt on No. 18, just as Popson birdied No. 17. The two-stroke swing led to Popson’s first win.
▪ Dye, who shot a tournament-record 7-under 65 on Saturday to take a two-stroke lead, had a monumental collapse Sunday. After a birdie on No. 4 to improve to 11-under for the tournament, she bogeyed four of the next seven holes. She recovered with birdies on two of the final three holes.
▪ James, who finished second in last year’s Symetra Classic, also struggled in Sunday’s final round. She had five bogeys to go along with just one birdie over the final 18 holes, and finished the tournament at 5-under 211.
▪ The next Symetra Tour event is the Gosling’s Dark ‘n Stormy Classic at Atlanta National Golf Club in Milton, Ga., on May 19-21.
They said it
“I just kept telling myself, ‘Let’s write the good story this week and see what happens,’ and just come out with no expectations today. Play the best I can, and worry about me and see what happens. It turned out pretty good.” – Popson