KANSAS CITY, Mo., July 31, 2016 - Peiyun Chien (Taiwan), who goes by “money”, won the inaugural Kansas City Championship on Sunday as final-round play was cancelled due to heavy storms in the area and subsequent unplayable course conditions. Play began on time at 7:30 a.m., but the horns blew at 8:40 a.m. and players were evacuated off the course.
Crews worked tirelessly over the next five hours, but play never resumed as a second storm hit the area and the course was ultimately deemed unplayable. Since just over half the field started play and nobody completed 18 holes, scores from Sunday were wiped out and the final results revert back to 36-holes.
Chien carded a 4-under, 68 on Friday and a 5-under, 67 on Saturday to win at 9-under, 135, one stroke clear of Jackie Stoelting (Vero Beach, Florida) and Emma Talley (Princeton, Kentucky).
“I’m very happy to win the Kansas City Championship,” said Chien. “I’m excited to win my first big tournament and I’m excited to move my ranking to top 10 or more.”
Chien moves from eighth on the Volvik Race for the Card money list to fifth with her first-place check of $15,000. Chien now has seven top 10 finishes this season.
“My dream has always been to play on the LPGA,” said Chien, who moved to the United States this past year to pursue the dream after playing in Asia. “I think after today, the dream is going to come true next year. I hope that every week I can play my best and every shot do my best.”
Chien moved to the United States after a successful season on the LPGA of Taiwan where she finished third. She reached Final Stage of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament in 2015, but missed the 72-hole cut and earned Epson Tour status.
“I came to America and found a coach in San Diego,” explained Chien. “I really changed everything, even my swing so it was a big change. I’ve been learning a lot on the Epson Tour and I think I’m ready for the LPGA next year.”
One of Chien’s mentors is 15-time LPGA Tour winner Yani Tseng.
“She just finished the British Open, but I will definitely be sending messages to her,” said Chien. “She has helped me a lot, especially with my putting. She has really taught me to control my speed and my aim.
Stoelting crossed over $70,000 with her tie for second and remains in third on the money list while Talley jumps from 31st to 21st with her second runner-up finish of the season.
“It is unfortunate we couldn’t play the final-round, but a big thank you to the staff and volunteers for working tirelessly to try and get the course playable,” said Stoelting, who now has 24 career top 10 finishes. “A tie for second place is one step closer to getting my LPGA card back. I’m happy with my game and excited for the rest of the year.”
Talley, who missed the cut last week, rebounded nicely to move into the top 25 after just seven starts.
“I am very happy with second place this week,” said Talley. “Obviously, I wish we would have been able to play the last round, but that is just how golf is sometimes. My game feels really good right now and I am super excited for the next few weeks.”
The Tour is off next week and returns August 12-14 with the Decatur-Forsyth Classic in Decatur, Illinois. There are now just eight events remaining in the 2016 season, which culminates with the Epson Tour Championship in Daytona Beach, Florida October 13-16.