LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Texan Cheyenne Knight captured her first LPGA Tour title in her native Lone Star State on Sunday (Oct 6), firing a 66 for a two-shot win in the Volunteers of America Classic.
The 22-year-old rookie rolled in three birdies on the back nine at the Old American Golf Club course to finish with a 18-under 266 total.
“It’s so incredible. I can’t put it into words,” Knight said.
Brittany Altomare and Jaye Marie Green tied for second at 16-under, giving the US the top three spots in the event at The Colony, Texas.
Knight came into the tournament needing a top five finish to crack the top 100 on the LPGA money list and ended up taking home her biggest career prize US$195,000 (S$269,000).
She is also the fourth American winner in 2019, joining Cydney Clanton, Nelly Korda and Lexi Thompson.
Until Sunday’s victory, there was not much for Knight to write home about in her rookie season. She missed the cut in half of her 18 starts on the Tour and was looking a relegation to the qualifying series.
That all changed this week as she earned a two-year exemption and will play in the CME Globe Tour Championship in November.
“I said when I got my card this was the event I was most looking forward to,” said Knight. “Who would have thought this would help me secure my card. I thought I was going back to Q-school. To win this means everything.”
She grew up about an hour’s drive away in Aledo, Texas. She wanted to dedicate her first victory to her late brother, Brandon, who died in a car accident when Cheyenne was just 12.
“I think I had a second caddie. I know he’s watching in heaven, and he’s so proud of me,” a teary-eyed Knight said. “This is for Brandon.”
Altomare shot a 67 and third-round leader Green closed with a 69.
Green began the fourth round with the lead and still had a one shot lead through 10 holes until she made back-to-back bogeys on the 11th and 12th.
England’s Georgia Hall, who had one of the best rounds of the day with a five-under 66, finished in a tie for fourth with Jane Park of the US who had a 68.
Northern Ireland’s Stephanie Meadow and Katherine Perry tied for sixth at 10-under 274, eight strokes adrift of Knight.
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