SAN ANTONIO, Current LPGA Tour member Allison Hanna-Williams of Portland, Ore., won her first professional tournament today at the Texas Hill Country Classic. The fifth-year LPGA player won by one shot at 209 (-7), posting a final-round score of three-under 69.
Hanna-Williams was in a three-way tie for the lead going into the final hole when she rolled in a six-foot putt for birdie to clinch the win.
"It feels good," said Hanna-Williams of her victory. "I've been so close before and I thought we were going to have a play-off. I was in a play-off before at LPGA Qualifying School and ended up not getting my (LPGA) card by one stroke, so it felt good to make that birdie on the last hole."
The inaugural tournament, played on The Dominion Country Club course, was the second Duramed FUTURES Tour event of the year for Hanna-Williams, who left immediately after the awards ceremony to catch a flight to Virginia. She will be competing in Monday's qualifying tournament for the LPGA's Michelob ULTRA Open at Kingsmill. Hanna-Williams said today's win gave her the extra boost she needs going into that one-round qualifier.
"Winning today has definitely given me the confidence to play well when under pressure," said Hanna-Williams.
"It's also helps my bank account," joked Hanna-Williams, referring to the $17,500 winner's check she earned. "It's tough to get sponsors. I've had to borrow from my parents, which I've never done. But I know I can do this."
With her share of the $125,000 purse, one of the three largest on the Tour, Hanna-Williams jumped to 4th from 75th on the current money list. New season money leader, Misun Cho of Cheongju, South Korea, moved up from third, while last week's leader, Angela Buzminski, of Oshawa, Ontario, slipped to second.
But while a nice paycheck is a welcome addition to her bank account, Hanna-Williams said that her winnings are already spent. She and her husband bought a house last year and are in the process of remodeling.
"I can complete the bathroom now," joked Hanna-Williams. "My husband will be happy. Now there's no pressure."
In addition to her final birdie on hole 18, Hanna-Williams recorded birdies on holes 2, 3, 5 and 9, with bogeys on holes 12 and 13.
Jennifer Ackerson (70) of Dallas, and Alison Walshe (71) of Bedford, Mass., kept Hanna-Williams on her heels to the very end. The pair tied for second with a final score of 210 (-6).
Walshe came into today's final round with a one-shot lead, but after three bogeys, she slipped into a share of second. Nevertheless, the rookie was pleased with her round.
"I'm happy I put myself in that position," said Walshe who also scored four birdies. "Allison [Hanna-Williams] played great. I'm not disappointed. I've just got to be patient."
Playing in her second full season, Ackerson attempted a 30-foot putt for birdie on hole 18, which would have put her in a play-off with Hanna-Williams.
"I gave it a shot, but unfortunately it didn't make it," recalled Ackerson, who recorded her best finish to date on the Duramed FUTURES Tour. "I had to scramble a lot on the back nine, but the greens here are great."
Mina Harigae (69) of Monterey, Calif., and Misun Cho (69) tied for 4th at 212 (-4). Danah Ford (71) of Indianapolis stood alone at 6th with 214 (-2).
Rookie Lindsey Bergeon (77) of Sarasota, Fla., who shared the lead in the first round, fell into a tie for 13th after a day that included two birdies, four bogeys and a double-bogey.
The Texas Hill Country Classic, presented by golfTEC Academy, was the second of two tournaments played in the Lone Star state in as many weeks. Next stop for the Duramed FUTURES Tour is the Mercedes-Benz of Kansas City Championship in Leawood, Kans., May 15-17.
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS