Former University of Arizona Wildcat, Gigi Stoll took home the Casino Del Sol Golf Classic trophy at the course she played during her collegiate career, Sewailo Golf Club. Stoll held her second-and-third round lead to win the tournament at 14-under. A final-round 68 sealed the deal for the Oregon native, who secured her first Epson Tour victory on Sunday.
Throughout the week, Stoll talked about her experience at Sewailo Golf Club and said a strong front nine is the key to a good finish. The former Wildcat proved that to be true as she carded five of her seven birdies before making the turn.
“I started off really good with a birdie on the first two holes. I think that definitely helped the momentum starting the day,” said Stoll. “I kept it going a little bit throughout the round and it got a little rocky, made a couple bogeys, but I never really felt out of it.”
When Stoll got to No. 17, the pressure was on. What looked like a four-shot lead throughout a majority of the back nine diminished into a tie and possible playoff.
“I had to make a birdie on that hole to get ahead by one,” said Stoll. “I pretty much almost holed out the shot; I only had a little tap in. And then I just played 18 really smart.”
Coming down No. 18 and right before she made the winning putt, the 26-year-old took a hard look at the leaderboard. While some players try to avoid looking at all costs, Stoll often does and uses it as a reminder of what she needs to do.
“I definitely peek at the leaderboard all the time,” said Stoll. “I like to know where I’m at when I’m in a tournament, no matter where I’m at. It’s nice to know what I have to do. I’m the type of player that likes to perform under pressure, so I thought being in the position and knowing where I was only made me more confident in what I needed to do.”
Just one shot behind Stoll at 13-under was Natasha Andrea Oon, who secured her second straight runner-up finish in two weeks. Oon carded seven birdies on the day and was just short on a birdie putt to close out the round and force a playoff with Stoll.
“I chickened out on the last putt which was a little bit sad,” said Oon. “But honestly, I’m just really glad that I’m able to go low. This course really sets you up to go low and there’s a lot of reachable par fives. I’m really proud of myself for putting in as many putts as I did today.”
The 2023 Epson Tour rookie has made her name known on the tour early in the season and doesn’t plan on losing the grip on her game anytime soon. With three weeks off, Oon will spend time with her people, working on improvements and getting ready to come back for a win.
“I just want to work harder. This tells me that I’m doing good, but I’m a very self-critical person and I know what I need to work on,” said Oon. “I can’t wait for the off weeks to see my coach and my people. It makes me feel really good that I can go home with a good result.”
Rounding out the top five were Lindsey McCurdy and Clariss Guce sharing third place at 12-under and Daniela Iacobelli in solo-fifth place at 11-under. McCurdy and Guce both signed for a final round 66, while Iacobelli finished 2-under on the day. A total of 40 players finished the tournament at even par or better.
Lindsey McCurdy (-12, T3) on a T3 finish:
“It feels really good. The game is feeling really good, and to see it finally paying off feels really good.”
Clariss Guce (-12, T3) on a bogey-free final round:
“It was definitely a relief because this one of the courses that I kind of feel uncomfortable playing. The putter was really good, so I don’t have any complaints.”
Min A Yoon (-9, T7) on a final-round 64:
“Today my shots and putting were so good. That’s the reason why I was 7-under today.”
Sophie Hausmann (-9, T7) on a final-round 64:
“It was pretty good, pretty solid and consistent golf to be honest. I didn’t make many mistakes and took advantage of some good opportunities. The back nine, you definitely have to stick around. I played a good front nine, but I knew what was going to come up, so I was playing my game when opportunities came but didn’t want to force birdies. That’s when things can turn around quickly.”