GETTYSBURG, Pa., Aug. 24, 2008 - Samantha Richdale of Kelowna, B.C., earned her first professional win by two strokes with a finish of 1-over-par 73 in today's final round at the $100,000 Gettysburg Championship.
Richdale finished with a three-round score of 5-under-par 211, holding off four-time Tour winner Vicky Hurst (72) of Melbourne, Fla., who closed two shots back at 3-under-par 213.
Fellow Canadian Jessica Shepley of Oakville, Ontario, and Lisa Ferrero of Lodi, Calif., each carded final rounds of 1-over-par 73 to tie for third at 214 (-2).
Richdale was doused on the 18th green by fellow players who showered her with water bottles. Shortly after being escorted to the awards ceremony by generals from the reenactment soldiers of the Battle of Gettysburg, Richdale received the crystal cannon trophy from Pennsylvania native and LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame member Betsy King. King served as the honorary chairperson at The Gettysburg Championship.
Richdale also received an Accutron diamond watch and moved from 50th to 17th on the season money list with a $14,000 paycheck.
"I'm really excited," said Richdale, whose previous career-best finish was a tie for 17th at the Jalapeno Duramed FUTURES Golf Classic earlier this year. "It's unbelievable. I wouldn't have told anyone that I could win one of the last few tournaments of the season.
Richdale closed out her win with a birdie on the 18th hole, placing her 56-degree wedge approach shot eight feet away from the flagstick, then converting her birdie putt straight into the cup.
The Canadian had to overcome a pair of double bogeys after carding only two bogeys through her first 36 holes. Her second double-bogey of the day on No. 13 dropped her back into a tie with Hurst at 4-under par. Her first double-bogey on the fifth hole gave Gerina Mendoza of Roswell, N.M., a one-stroke advantage.
"I got a little bit down on myself," said Richdale after her first double bogey on No. 5. "I struggle in the bunkers as it is, and to get those two lies was really unfortunate. It was a tough pin placement and I just knew there were some birdies still out there."
Richdale's first birdie of the day was a 25-footer on the par-3, sixth hole. She added back-to-back birdies on No. 10 and 11, from distances of eight and 10 feet, respectively.
The third-year Tour pro competed in her first LPGA Tour event last week at the CN Canadian Women's Open, tying for 52nd.
"It was really scary getting into the rough in Canada," Richdale said. "I learned to lay up on par-5s so I can get favorable yardages instead of going for the green in two. That helped today."
Richdale has been working closely with seven-time Duramed FUTURES Tour winner Lori Atsedes of Ithaca, N.Y., to strengthen her mental game as the season has progressed.
Now, she has a chance to break into the Tour's top 10 to finish out the year in Albany, N.Y.
"I don't want to put expectations out there," said Richdale, clad in Nike gear provided by Prasco, her new sponsor. "I just need to focus and not be result-oriented."
Hurst had a chance to tie for the lead on the 18th green before Richdale's group came through, but the Tour's top-ranked player missed a birdie putt as it trickled left of the hole.
"My game wasn't where I wanted it to be today," Hurst said. "I started very well, but after a bogey on No. 9, I couldn't really get that back."
The Duramed FUTURES Tour closes out its regular season Sept. 5-7 at the ILOVENY Championship in Albany, N.Y.
The Tour's top 10 finishers on the season money list will be awarded 2009 LPGA Tour membership cards at the conclusion of the final round of the ILOVENY Championship. Five exemptions into this year's LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament will also be presented.
Fourth is no good enough