The Epson Tour Championship has a new champion and new 72-hole record, while the Epson Tour has a new all-time scoring record. Jaravee Boonchant accomplished all three after finishing the week 23-under par.
“I'm very happy,” said Boonchant. “It's really unbelievable. I still can't believe that I actually won the tournament just now. I don't know, I’m just very happy and words just can't describe how I feel right now.”
The win at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Florida marked the rookie’s first victory on the Epson Tour. Boonchant carded 21 birdies and a lone eagle on the week, with clean, bogey-free scorecards throughout all four rounds.
“I actually did not realize that I did all bogey-free until two of the last holes,” said Boonchant. “I was like, ‘Oh, I actually haven't had a bogey yet.’ That kind of distracted me a little bit, but I was just going to do what I had been doing and just focused on this shot that I was about to hit.”
Unfortunately, the win wasn’t enough to secure Boonchant a spot in the top-10. The Thai finished at No. 12 on the Epson Tour official money list, getting exempt from Stage II of the LPGA Tour Qualifying School. Her next chance at 2023 LPGA membership will happen at Q-Series in December.
“I'm just very grateful that I was able to pull out a win this week,” said Boonchant. “Coming into this tournament, I was flying from Korea and my ranking was 36. It was just like at the cut line, so I was just hoping that I made a good result and maybe get exempt from Stage II. To be able to win on the last event of Epson Tour, that just makes me very happy and proud that all the hard work has paid off. I’m proud of myself that I trust the process and didn’t stress myself out too much.”
One stroke behind Boonchant, in solo second place, was Riley Rennell. The Tennessee native went bogey-free on the day, signing for a 7-under final round.
“I'm so happy, just to have a chance,” said Rennell. “I felt really calm and really good out there. I kept on pushing, kept playing well, and it was so surreal to see my name climb up the leaderboard. I felt like I played really well, but it just felt easy today, so it was really fun.”
Over four rounds this week, Rennell carded 22 birdies, two bogeys and a lone eagle. She claims the key to her success was the newest addition to her golf bag.
“I got a brand new putter, so that helped a lot with my putting,” said Rennell. “I'm going to keep this putter, it's safe to say.”
Bailey Tardy finished in solo third place at 20-under par. The Georgia native has put together three weeks and 10 rounds of solid golf, earning her third top-five finish in three events. Tardy carded six birdies and two bogeys on the day, totaling 22 birdies on the week. Like Boonchant, Tardy’s finish was unfortunately just short of what she needed to break into the top-10. At No. 11, she’ll have a shot a redemption at Q-Series in December.
Rounding out the top five, tied for fourth, were Anita Uwadia, Dottie Ardina, Kiira Riihijarvi and Linnea Ström. The four sat four strokes behind Boonchant, at 19-under.
The only player to fall out of the top-10 was rookie, Alexa Pano. Hyo Joon Jang, also a rookie, finished T11 for the week to move into the top 10 on the money list and take the last card.
Anita Uwadia (-19, T4) on being 6-under thru 7 to start the final round:
“For me it's kind of unreal just because I didn't play the last event because I was quite off mentally with my game. For me to play a career low a week after, I was like, wow, I don't know where this year is leading to. It's pretty nice and it's obviously a confidence booster. I'm excited to end the season this way. I didn't expect it, I'm not going to lie.”
Kim Kaufman (-14, T24) on finishing the season on a positive note:
“I wasn't playing for a ton out here [this week]. I couldn't move up in too many ways, but just for myself to bogey-free, 6-under, hopefully moved up a bit, it actually feels really good. It’s a good way to end the year.”
Samantha Wagner (-12, T30) on a bogey-free final round:
“I missed a lot of birdies today and had a couple chips that just lipped out, too. But otherwise, it felt really good. It felt good to end season on a high note. I obviously knew coming in what I had to do to get my card, and while I'm disappointed, my game feels in great shape for Q Series, so that's good.”
Teresa Toscano (-15, T20) on four birdies to start the day:
“I’ve been playing good this past few days but quite didn't score. Finally, on the final round I made some birdies so that was good.”