DECATUR, Ill., June 17, 2007 –
“I worked really hard to make that happen,” laughed daughter Bastel, whose father, teacher and caddie had the best view all day of his daughter’s second season win. She carded rounds of 69-68-71-70 for a 10-under-par total of 278 and edged runner-up Onnarin Sattayabanphot in a two-hole playoff at Hickory Point Golf Course at the Tour’s longest-running tournament and only major championship.
“My win earlier this year in McAllen [Texas] was special because it was my first professional win, but this one validates the first,” said Bastel, 26, of Upper Sandusky, Ohio, who collected $14,700 for the win and moved to the top of the Tour’s money list after 10 events. “It felt like old times with my dad out there with me today.”
Sunday’s final round of the 23rd annual event turned into a Big Ten shootout with Bastel, a former collegian at Michigan State University, and Sattayabanphot (nicknamed “Moo”), who played at Purdue University, going head-to-head in the final round. The rookie from Bangkok, Thailand matched scores of 70 with Bastel to force the extra holes.
And while those two were battling in the final Sunday pairing, former Ohio State University All-American Mollie Fankhauser also made a run at the leaders, firing a six-under-par round of 66 to move into a tie for third with Caroline Larsson (69) of Danderyd, Sweden and Rachel Bailey (69) of Faulconbridge, Australia, all at 280 (-8) in the Tour’s only 72-hole, regular-season tournament.
Fankhauser birdied four of her last eight holes, draining a 40-foot birdie putt on the 17th. The 2006 tournament winner hit 16 greens in regulation and rolled in 28 putts en route to her bogey-free round.
“I’ve been losing patience with myself and this week kind of stirred me up,” said Fankhauser of Columbus, Ohio, who carded six birdies in today’s final round. “I’ve been due to make some putts and I finally cashed in today.”
Sattayabanphot (pronounced Sah-tah-yah-bun-pot) admitted to having a case of nerves on the first tee this morning, pumping her tee shot way left and taking bogey. But she tied for the lead with Bastel and Liz Janangelo when she made a 14-foot birdie putt on the second hole, and then grabbed the lead with a 50-foot birdie on No. 3. When she added another birdie from five feet on the ninth, Sattayabanphot had built a three-shot lead over Bastel and Larsson, and was looking like the same 2006 Big Ten Player of the Year she had been in college.
“She got out to a lead early and played great,” said Bastel. “Playing with the lead for that long is a different kind of stress than if you’re trying to catch up.”
As she approached the last stretch of holes, Bastel’s dad knew his daughter would have a better chance to catch the long-hitting rookie on the downwind holes that were coming up on the 6,594-yard course.
“I said, ‘Let’s try to birdie two of the last three and see what happens,’” said Dave Bastel, a PGA Professional who owns and operates Lincoln Hills Golf Course in Ohio. “Moo’s pretty long and she wasn’t giving anything away. I knew once we got it turned downwind, we’d have a chance.”
Sure enough, his daughter rolled in a birdie putt on No. 16 from 18 feet, and then added a second birdie on the 17th from 15 feet. When Sattayabanphot left her bunker shot six feet short of the hole and didn’t get up and down for par, Bastel seized a share of the lead at 10 under with one hole to play. When her seven-foot birdie chance on the final hole in regulation burned the right edge, and Sattayabanphot’s birdie putt slid past the left side, the two were forced into extra holes.
“It’s kind of match play at that point and now you really have to take advantage of opportunities,” said Bastel, who used only 26 putts in regulation.
On the first playoff hole -- played on No. 18 -- both players drove into a right fairway bunker. The rookie hit her bunker shot into the deep, front rough. She chipped to two inches and tapped in for par. Bastel had to navigate her way out of the sand and over a tree from 117 yards. That shot came out, but landed 77 yards short of the flagstick. Bastel’s wedge shot landed within three and a half feet of the hole and she drained her must-make par to force another hole.
Back to the 18th tee for a second playoff hole, Bastel’s tee shot skipped through the left fairway bunker and landed safely in the fairway. Sattayabanphot’s drive flew left of Bastel’s, behind a crab apple tree. She punched out a low shot with a 5-iron, but landed 25 yards short of the flagstick. The rookie chipped to 15 feet, and then drained her 15-footer for par to put the pressure on Bastel.
“I never quit and I gave myself a chance to win,” said Sattayabanphot, 23, who added the runners-up check of $10,500 to her bank account. “But Emily’s really good. Her irons and her putting are awesome.”
The fourth-year pro hit her approach to eight feet and sized up her putt for the win with her dad by her side. Bastel’s putt curled into the left side of the hole for the winning birdie and an automatic exemption into the LPGA’s State Farm Classic, just down the road in Springfield, Ill., on Memorial Day weekend.
“We’re here [on the Duramed FUTURES Tour] because we want to be on the LPGA Tour, so to win and to earn an exemption is a bonus,” said Bastel, who had full LPGA status in 2005 and 2006.
Bastel lost her Tour card at LPGA Q-School last fall and returned to the Duramed FUTURES Tour, where she had finished 6th on the money list in 2004. But this year, her purpose was more about freeing herself up to play good golf than anything else.
“Last year was very humbling,” she added. “I never made any cuts and I didn’t feel like myself on the golf course. You learn so much more from a bad year like that than from a good experience. I’m proudest of the fact that I can rebound.”
And rebound, she did, with the eyes of her teacher and father watching her climb back into form as the kind of player who made it to the LPGA Tour in the first place three years ago.
“I think she probably learned that you have to show up every day in this game,” said her dad. “If you really want to be out here, you have to commit to it, and Emily’s made a commitment to try to make this a career again.”
With two wins to her credit and nine weeks to go this season, Bastel seems to just be hitting her stride. And if Father’s Day was this dramatic, one can only wonder about Christmas with the Bastels.
For scores and more information on the Michelob ULTRA Duramed FUTURES Players Championship presented by Ameren, visit www.duramedfuturestour.com.
Weather: Mostly hazy sunshine with a high temperature of 93 degrees and winds of 9 mph.
Contact: Lisa D. Mickey, Duramed FUTURES Tour at (863) 709-9100 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.
photo Getty Images
Photo: Rémy Gros