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Jennifer Kupcho Wins First Major of 2022 at Mission Hills

By: | Mon 04 Apr 2022 | Comments

JENNIFER KUPCHO became the last woman to leap into Poppie’s Pond after winning the Chevron Championship, the first women’s major of the year. The tournament moves from Mission Hills to Houston next year.

"To be a major winner and to be the last person here at Mission Hills to jump into Poppie's Pond, it's all really special," Kupcho said. "I think it's surreal."

The 24-year-old carded 74 in the final round to finish 14 under and secure her first victory on the LPGA Tour.

Kupcho is the first US champion at the event since Brittany Lincicome in 2015.

Compatriot Jessica Korda (69) was the runner-up on 12 under, while last year's champion Patty Tavatanakit (72) finished in a tie for fourth place.

Kupcho began the day with a six-shot lead and pushed her advantage with a birdie on the 15th.

The 24-year-old then bogeyed the final two holes but had done more than enough to clinch the title.

Kupcho, her caddie and her husband all jumped into Poppie's Pond after her victory.

Slovenia's 18-year-old Pia Babnik (66) finished third on 11 under, while England's Georgia Hall (69) was one of four players to finish back in 13th on six under.

PGA Tour

JJ SPAUN, world-ranked 242nd at the beginning of the week, claimed his maiden victory by winning the Valero Texas Open at San Antonio. It was his 147th start on the PGA Tour, and it secured the final place in this week's Masters for the 31-year-old.

After securing the win, Spaun said: "I think a year ago to even be on tour I would have been telling you I'd have to do a lot of work to get there, but to be here and to overcome a lot of things and finally get a win, that's everything you dream of. It's incredible. I'm speechless."

It meant there was no fairytale ending for Matt Kuchar, Henrik Stenson, Richard Bland and Brandt Snedeker, all of whom will be watching The Masters from home after failing to win in Texas.

But there were encouraging performances from some of those who will be at Augusta National. Jordan Spieth finished with a 67 in defence of his title, while Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre had his third 69 of the week and will be cursing his miserable third round of 76.

However, this day belonged to Spaun. He fired a final round of 69, which gave It gave him a two-shot victory over Kuchar (69) and Matt Jones (66).

Adam Hadwin (67), Beau Hossler (72), Charles Howell III (69) and Troy Merritt (69) tied for fourth at 10-under.

Spaun closed with four straight pars, and no one could close in on him. His previous best finish on tour was runner-up in 2018 at The RSM Classic. Jones missed a three-foot par putt on the 16th, birdied the 17th and missed a 14-foot birdie putt on the final hole.

Kuchar needed a birdie on the final hole and Spaun to make bogey to force a playoff. Spaun found trouble off the tee in the left rough, but Kuchar’s second shot went into the water. Spaun reached the green of the par-5 finishing hole in three and his final putt was less than two feet.

It was a missed opportunity to get back to The Masters for Kuchar and Snedeker, who shared the lead after the first two holes Sunday. Between them, they have 26 Masters appearances, seven top 10s and each has a top-three finish. Snedeker finished tied for 18th after a 75.

Spaun’s double-bogey final round start before getting the victory is so rare that the last time it happened on tour came in 2008, when Tiger Woods won the U.S. Open victory (and Woods needed a playoff the following day).

Spaun took the lead with a birdie after nailing his approach into the 11th to three feet away. Jones’ birdie at the 17th cut it to one, but Spaun answered with a birdie at the par-5 14th after getting almost pin high in the greenside bunker. He hit to nine feet and made the putt to go back to two ahead.

Spaun nursed the lead, making a six-footer for par at 15, chipping to five feet away and making the par putt on the 16th and on 17, knocking in par from four feet.

Spaun’s double-bogey at the start came when his approach missed so much it settled left of the bunker situated left of the green. His chip rolled toward the back of the green and he three-putted. He also double-bogeyed the 9th on Saturday. Yet he birdied the tough ninth hole on Sunday, one of five on the day.

Keegan Bradley, who shot a final-round 66, finished in a tie for eighth at 9-under with Matthias Schwab (68), Gary Woodland (70) and third-round co-leader Dylan Fittelli (73).

Frittelli’s chances started to slip after he walked to the ninth tee following a birdie at 8. His tee shot ran down a cart path straight into cactus. Frittelli pulled the ball away from the spines and took an unplayable and managed bogey to fall two shots back.

Ladies European Tour

LEE-ANNE Pace won the Investec South African Women's Open after Wales' Becky Brewerton surrendered a five-shot lead.

Just the day before, Brewerton reeled off six birdies in her second-round 66 and looked in a good position to claim her first Ladies European Tour title since 2009.

However, she failed to capitalise on her healthy advantage heading into the final day as she recorded a disappointing six-over par 78 - including a bogey on the last - to finish one behind Pace and Magdalena Simmermacher at Cape Town's Steenberg Golf Club.

Pace and Simmermacher headed down the 18th six times in an epic play-off battle, before the former edged out her Argentinean opponent to win the tournament for a record fifth time.

England's Felicity Johnson finished in a tie for fourth, three-over par after her final-day 74.

With her 11th LET victory Pace also earned herself a place at the US Women's Open later in the year.

"I can't believe it, I honestly can't believe it, I'm in shock, it's great to earn a place in the Majors as well." Pace said.

"I've been struggling on the greens all wind, I've been hitting so many greens all week, and everything came together except the putter, and nothing wanted to drop, but when it really counted it did on the last hole."

Augusta National Women's Amateur

THE Augusta National Women's Amateur concluded in dramatic fashion as 16 year-old Anna Davis shot 70-76-69 to become the youngest champion in the event's history.

Davis overcame a two-stroke deficit with her final round of three-under-par 69 at Augusta National.

Over 54 holes, Davis finished with a one-under-par 215 total, outlasting the field by one stroke. Davis, who sits 100th in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, had four birdies in her final round, including three birdies over the first five holes of the back nine.

"I'm still a little shocked," Davis said. "I don't think it's processed yet that I've won here. It's pretty surreal, to be honest. I'm speechless."

She worked her way around Augusta National Golf Club deliberately while tieing the second-lowest score of the day.

Davis held a share of the lead in the opening round at Champions Retreat. The stakes continued to get bigger as she took on the challenge of Augusta National Golf Club. She had birdies on the second and ninth and walked in a four-footer on 12 after landing her 8-iron inches from the hole. Davis added another at 13, to capture a share of the lead.

"I think playing in a tournament like this and playing junior golf from such a young age, my main goal has always been to be the best in the world," Davis said.

Co-leaders Beatrice Wallin and Latanna Stone faltered during their final rounds, opening the door for Davis to lock up the come-from-behind victory.

Stone started her day tied at the top at even par and led by two strokes with two to play after a birdie at 16, but a double-bogey at 17 and a bogey at the 18th dropped her behind Davis.

"It's just heartbreaking," said Stone, who was making her Augusta National Women's Amateur debut. "I knew where I stood on the 17th and I was just thinking par out.

"I was trying to be aggressive and just lost it, I thought I could get it back on 1, but I had a lot going on in my head with where I was at."

Stone and Swede Ingrid Lindblad finished tied for second at even par 216.

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