The final round of the Black Desert Resort Championship has concluded, and the Epson Tour has crowned a new champion. Soldier Hollow saw another day of low scores, with the eventual champion shooting her lowest round of the year to take home the victory. The biggest purse in Epson Tour history shook up the Race for the Card standings, and no one benefited more than the 2023 Black Desert Resort Championship winner, Nataliya Guseva, who saw $56,250 go towards her official money tally.
Guseva has had a solid 2023 ahead of the Black Desert Resort Championship, only missing five cuts throughout her season. A T6 finish at the Champions Fore Change Invitational earlier this year was Guseva’s highest finish until her victory this week. The 20-year-old posted her best round of the season to close out the tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah, signing for a bogey-free, 7-under 65. Guseva moves to No. 12 in the Race for the Card and will be in the thick of the action going forward into the closing stretch of the Epson Tour season.
“Oh my god, I am just so pumped up. I feel like I am dreaming,” said Guseva. “It means a lot to win this event and I am just so happy. I went through a lot of emotions, I cried when I was one the phone with my mom just like ‘I can’t cry right now, there is a lot of cameras around’ but it still happened. It just really means a lot.”
The rookie came from two shots behind to pick up her first victory, eventually winning by the same margin she was behind to start the day. Coming from behind against past champions is no easy feat, but it did not seem to bother Guseva at all throughout her round. She will head into the Guardian Championship as the newest Epson Tour champion and with a renewed confidence.
“It feels really good to win with a low round,” said Guseva. “I think I was just in the right place mentally and I have a lot of struggles throughout this season. I am really happy that I was able to work through that and thank you to my team who is always out there supporting me through a lot of up and downs. I just got into that zone today and it felt really good.”
Jenny Coleman had the lead to start the day before eventually being tracked down by Guseva. Coleman still put together a solid round of golf, turning in a 3-under round of 69. A double bogey early and a few more hiccups coming in eventually put Coleman out of contention coming down No. 18, but the veteran still managed to move up three spots to No. 5 in the Race for the Card after her T2 finish. The California native would have clinched her LPGA Tour card with a win at the Black Desert Resort Championship, but the strong performance still put Coleman in a good spot heading into the final four events of the season.
“It was honestly a great event overall,” said Coleman. “Today I hit the ball great, but I was a little shaky with the putter. I was still able to finish up there and honestly, to put a score like that up this week is pretty nice.”
One of the most in-form players on the Epson Tour right now is Mariel Galdiano, who recorded her best finish of the season on Sunday (T2). Galdiano went bogey-free and posted a 7-under 65 on her way to her third top-10 finish in her last eight events. The T2 result moves the Hawaii native into the top 20 in the Race for the Card which helped her to meet goal she set at the start of the week of cracking the top 35 in the rankings.
“I kind of just went out there and tried to give myself the best opportunities I could,” said Galdiano. “Today I finally went bogey-free, I have to mention that. It has always been like one or two bogeys, but I finally got a round without one. I know I can shoot low scores out here and contend. I think the next step if possible is getting a win.”
Laetitia Beck and Minji Kang finished at 15-under for the tournament and in a tie for sixth, rounding out the top of the leaderboard at the Black Desert Resort Championship.