Christine Song Sinks 35-Footer on 17 and Captures 5th Epson Tour Win at Garden City Charity Classic presented by Mariah Fund
GARDEN CITY, KANSAS, September 17, 2016 - Christine Song (Fullerton, Calif.) made a 35-footer for birdie on hole 17 to seal the Garden City Charity Classic presented by Mariah Fund on Saturday at Buffalo Dunes. Song posted a 3-under, 69 and finished the three-day event at 13-under, 203 to win by two shots over Wichanee Meechai (Bangkok, Thailand), who posted a 5-under, 67 to finish at 11-under, 205.
Song picks up her fifth career Epson Tour victory and pockets the first-place check of $15,000. Song, who has played in 16 LPGA Tour events this season and only four Epson Tour tournaments moves up from 103rd to 37th on the Volvik Race for the Card money list. She has now earned $20,124.
“It feels awesome,” said Song. “I feel really blessed and I feel that I had some golf still in me.”
Song, who had a two shot lead entering the day, made birdie on hole two and then bogey on the ninth and made the turn with a one shot lead as Jessica Wallace, who finished third, made a birdie on one and then eight pars to turn at 9-under. Song was steady on the back nine with an 18-foot birdie on 12. The lead began to narrow as Meechai made birdies on 11, 13, 14 and 15 in the group in front. Song made a 16-footer for birdie on 16 and then drained the long one on 17 to take a two shot lead to 18.
“On 17, I was just trying to get the ball past the hole and not leave it short,” explained Song. “I think we played it two feet right-to-left and it trickled in which was pretty awesome.”
The 25-year-old nearly chipped in from the back of the 18th green and tapped in for the victory, her first since August, 18, 2013 when she won the Eagle Classic in Richmond, Virginia. Song won two Epson Tour events in 2010 and a pair in 2013. Song has finished inside the top 10 on the Epson Tour money list three times: 2009 (8th), 2010 (3rd) and 2013 (4th).
“This means a lot because I have been through injuries and a slump,” said Song, who missed 11 cuts on the LPGA this year. “I’m really just glad it is over.”
Song plans on playing the remainder of the Epson Tour schedule. She will likely need to head back to Final Stage of LPGA Qualifying Tournament unless she can make up enough ground to fit into the top 10.
“I’m actually really excited for Q-School, I can’t wait for it to be here,” said Song. “I want my putting to stay the way it is right now and not be dry again. I want to keep hitting the ball like I am right now.”
Song joked that she wished the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout was next week instead of after the off week.
Song’s putter was phenomenal all week. She attempted 78 putts for the three days, an average of 26 per round.
Buffalo Dunes Golf Course was very kind to Song over the course of two weeks. She finished T6 in week one and made 21 birdies over her final four rounds in Kansas.
Meanwhile, Meechai made birdie on the 18th hole to finish in solo second and moved from fifth to fourth on the Volvik Race for the Card money list. She becomes the fourth player to cross $80,000 this season joining Madelene Sagstrom ($141,184), Jackie Stoelting ($92,616) and Ally McDonald ($88,932). This is the first time four players have earned over $80,000 in a single-season.
Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong (Thailand) finished T4 with a final-round 68 to move from 11th to seventh on the money list while Wallace finished solo third to move from 21st to 18th.
Persistent fog on Saturday morning forced the Tour to split tees and play did not begin until 10:30 a.m.