The final round of the Twin Bridges Championship has come to a close and as the Epson Tour leaves the Northeast, it leaves with only one champion. Jenny Bae secured her second victory in less than a week after winning a five-hole playoff against Natasha Andrea Oon, introducing herself to the golf world in a big way.
Bae entered the day with a two-shot lead, and it looked like she was going to run away with the tournament as she entered the back nine. A few hiccups from the Epson Tour rookie on her final nine brought her back to the field. The 2-over 73 she ultimately recorded was Bae’s first over-par score since her very first Epson Tour round at the Inova Mission Inn Resort & Club Championship earlier this year. Bae had a quick turnaround after winning her first Epson Tour title on Monday at the Hartford HealthCare Women’s Championship, and the fatigue seemed to get to her in her final round. But the University of Georgia Bulldog found an extra gear halfway through her playoff to finally secure the win and pick up her second Epson Tour victory in her last two starts.
“My 18 holes for the final round were a bit of a struggle,” said Bae. “I wasn’t able to save as much as I usually do but something clicked in the middle of the playoff and suddenly had this bad desire to win. I am so glad everything worked out the way it did.”
With the victory at the Twin Bridges Championship, Bae becomes the first back-to-back winner this season. The 21-year-old moved to No. 9 on the Race for the Card standings in less than a week and now has her sights set on earning her LPGA Tour card.
“I feel great. I didn’t expect myself to win this fast, let alone back-to-back so I am in a blur right now,” said Bae. “Overall, I feel really good about my game and take a day off or two. I didn’t realize it would get me into the top 10 that fast but there are still a lot of tournaments left. I just want to play well in those and maintain my ranking.”
Oon put the pressure on Bae late in the final round. Oon started her day with two bogeys in her first four holes. But everything seemed to come together after that as Oon rattled off 7 birdies over the next 14 holes, draining a clutch birdie putt at the last to secure a spot in the playof. Oon is no stranger to second-place finishes, with this week being her fourth runner-up of the year. It seems like it’s only a matter of time before she finds herself in the winner’s circle on the Epson Tour.
“I learned a lot from her, and I learned a lot from this experience,” said Oon. “I am just really grateful to be in this position and I am hopeful I will be able to pull through one day. I wasn’t even thinking about winning coming into today and then I just started to make birdies and things just started going my way. I am just grateful.”
A familiar face in Gabriela Ruffels rounded out the top three at the Twin Bridges Championship. Ruffels had a rough start to the day but salvaged some birdies on her front nine, finishing with an eagle and a birdie in her last four holes to get to 5-under overall. Ruffels had a putt on 18 to get herself into the playoff but left it a foot short. Ruffels still maintains the top spot in the Race for the Card and looks to be one of the first players to secure her spot on the LPGA Tour for the 2024 season.
“Until I was on No. 16, I didn’t really have an idea what was happening,” said Ruffels. “I thought I was kind of out of it, then I eagled No. 15 and then made birdie on No. 17. Then I saw the leaderboard on No. 18, and I was one back. I really wanted to make that putt, but I left it a foot short. It was still a good tournament overall though.
Rounding out the top five on the leaderboard is Roberta Liti, who finished fourth at 4-under as well as Robyn Choi and Minji Kang, who finished in a tie for fifth at 3-under.
Robyn Choi (-3, T5) on her five-under final round:
“The course was set up pretty challenging, it is playing narrow and long. Today the putter was rolling a little better than past days, so I made a few long putts out there. I tried to keep a steady pace and just aim to hit fairways and greens and take advantage of an opportunity when I can.”
Minji Kang (-3, T5) on getting into the top 5:
"Compared to last week this course was a little bit longer so my clubs on my second shots was longer as well. I couldn’t play as aggressive because of that but I was making long putts today and I hit some good shots. I have a lot of confidence after my results the last two weeks and I am just focused on the next tournaments.”