Not even a pop-up thunderstorm forcing a 30-minute weather delay could slow Fatima Fernandez Cano in the final round of the Carlisle Arizona Women’s Golf Classic at Longbow Golf Club. The Spaniard shot a 2-under par 70 on Sunday to capture her second Epson Tour title by three strokes at 17-under.
“It’s super sweet,” said Fernandez Cano, an Epson Tour ambassador. “I came into this tournament as a preparation to continue my LPGA career. We had a long break and it just felt right, I always love Arizona and Carlisle puts on a first-class event.”
A two-time Epson Tour graduate in 2020 and 2021, Fernandez Cano finished at No. 2 on the Race for the Card money list both seasons to secure LPGA Tour membership. She made 19 cuts across 20 starts with 10 top-10 results a year ago on the “Road to the LPGA.” The Troy University alumna continued her hot streak in the desert before venturing to California for the LPGA’s JTBC Classic presented by Barbasol, one of Fernandez Cano’s sponsors.
“I was very close a few times last year. I was able to get my LPGA card but never quite got that win,” said Fernandez Cano, who previously won on the Epson Tour at the 2020 IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino Resort & Spa. “To come out here, first event and getting it done is actually very sweet.”
Fernandez Cano opened with birdies at Nos. 1 and 4, then surrendered a bogey at the par-4 6th. It was an eagle at No. 9 to make the turn 2-under par on the afternoon that provided Fernandez Cano breathing room. Despite two bogeys coming in, she hoisted the trophy in the end.
“We had a great prep to the week,” said Fernandez Cano’s caddie James Longman. “Thursday, Friday we played well, just didn’t score. Saturday was a different level and today was tough to come out the day after an 11-under. It was a bit of a grind, with a couple really good saves for bogey that were clutch.”
Dani Holmqvist fired a bogey-free, 6-under 66 to finish in a tie for second at 14-under overall with Sofia Garcia (68) and Laura Restrepo (72). It’s a top result in the young career of Garcia, an Epson Tour rookie, while Restrepo earned her first top 10 since the 2021 Mission Inn Resort & Club Championship.
“I'm very proud of this week,” said Restrepo, an Epson Tour winner at the 2019 Guardian Championship. “I definitely saw a lot of good things from what I've worked on. And I thought playing in the final group the last two rounds, it's not easy but I managed that pretty well. The finish proves how close I am.”
Four players shared fifth, including Kum-Kang Park, the 2022 Florida’s Natural Charity Classic champion. Park signed for an 8-under 64 on Sunday to finish 13-under. Ruixin Liu (72), who won the inaugural Carlisle Arizona Women’s Golf Classic in 2021, ended the week in a share of 19th at -9.
Carlisle also donated $100 to Phoenix Children’s for every birdie made over the weekend on the par-5 18th. A total of 43 birdies and four eagles were converted across the final 36 holes led to a minimum donation of $6,500 from Carlisle to the tournament’s charitable beneficiary.