A bogey free, 4-under par final round set Maria Torres apart from the rest of the field at the Guardian Championship in Prattville, Ala. on Sunday. Torres walked away with her career first professional victory after missing the cut in her last six Epson Tour starts.
“I’m so excited,” said Torres. “it’s slowly sinking in, but it was a good three days, and I’m really happy.”
Torres wanted to keep a level head coming into the final round, so she changed her mindset in order to be present in every moment.
“I wanted to take a different approach today,” said Torres. “When you’re in situations where you’re in contention, it gets stressful. I wanted to take it as, every shot I’m there and not thinking ahead.”
The former University of Florida Gator felt at home in SEC country. Little did she know when she touched down in Birmingham that she’d get her first win since repping the Orange and Blue.
“Arriving to Birmingham gave me a little flashback of the SEC,” said Torres. “I was like ‘Wow I like it here.’”
Just two shots behind Torres were Celine Borge and Clariss Guce. The duo finished the week tied for second at 12-under par.
Like Torres, Borge recorded a bogey free, 6-under par final round. She was even par on the day until her turn from No. 9 to No. 10, where she made two consecutive birdies. From there, Borge carded four more birdies down the stretch.
“It felt really good on the last hole,” said Borge. “I finished really well on the last couple of holes, and it’s a good feeling knowing I can be up there [on the leaderboard].”
Guce remained in her T2 position from Saturday’s second round after going 4-under on Sunday. The Filipino went bogey free on the front nine and carded five birdies in the first 10 holes but slipped up on the back nine with a lone bogey.
“It’s a bittersweet feeling,” said Guce. “You definitely want to win, but at the same time you know you played great.”
Guce hopes to keep the momentum rolling into the final three weeks of the season.
Six players rounded out the top five in a tie for fourth place. Hyo Joon Jang, Abegail Arevalo, Natalie Srinivasan, Ssu-Chia Cheng, Yan Liu and Dani Holmqvist totaled an 11-under par after three rounds. A total of 58 players finished the week at even-par or better.