GARDEN CITY, Kan., September 20, 2015 – Vicky Hurst’s (Melbourne, Florida) meteoric rise through the Symetra Tour over the last two months is now compete as she posted an even-par 72 to win the Garden City Charity Classic at Buffalo Dunes on Sunday to secure full LPGA Tour membership for the 2016 season. Hurst finished at 8-under 208, two shots clear of Olivia Jordan-Higgins, who carded a 4-under 68 to give Hurst all she could handle.
Hurst moves from 14th to fourth on the Volvik Race for the Card money list and has guaranteed a spot in the final top 10 with three events remaining. The top four on the Volvik Race for the Card money list have now assured themselves a spot in the final top 10. Dani Holmqvist, who won the Island Resort Championship, moved from fifth to third with a 4-under 68 to finish in a tie for fourth.
“I’m very excited, I’m a little bit relieved too because we only have three tournaments left and if it wasn’t here, it (finishing in the top 10) would only get tougher and tougher,” said Hurst about locking up her card. “I’m really proud of myself for playing well this week and the last couple of months and I’m looking forward to next year.”
Hurst, who played on the 2011 U.S. Solheim Cup team, watched the dramatic win this morning and now has her eyes on making the 2017 Solheim Cup team.
“The 2017 team will definitely be a goal and it was incredible this morning to wake up and watch them win,” said Hurst. “It’s amazing for them to have such a huge comeback on Sunday and I’m proud of them.”
The 25-year-old, who had a five shot lead entering the day, did not have a walk in the park. She made two bogeys and one birdie on the front nine to make the turn at 7-under. Madeleine Sheils (Boise, Idaho), who was playing in the group in front, and Jordan Britt (Chattanooga, Tennessee) were both inching closer at 4-under with nine to play.
The turning point came on the 15th hole. Hurst had just made birdie on 14 to return to 7-under, but ran into trouble and left herself a 25-foot par putt while Olivia Jordan-Higgins, who was 5-under, had a 10-foot birdie putt.
“That could have been a two shot swing, but I made my 25-footer and she missed her birdie and that was a momentum swing for me,” said Hurst. “Going into 16 and 17, I was a little bit more relaxed and it let me go at pins.”
Hurst made birdie on 16 to give herself a three shot cushion and then made a clutch par save on 17 to keep her distance into 18. She made an easy two-putt par on 18 to claim the win.
Hurst started the year on the LPGA and once her status dwindled, she decided to focus on earning her full card back through the Symetra Tour. She missed the cut in two of her first three Symetra Tour events and ranked No. 127 on the Volvik Race for the Card money list in mid-July heading into the Toyota Danielle Downey Classic.
“The road back has been tough, anyone that plays professional golf knows,” said Hurst. “Last year, I had a little rut in my game and to be able to improve from that and build something positive this year has been huge. I’m excited to be heading back to the Tour and play with the big kids again.”
Hurst has finished inside the top 15 in seven straight events starting with a second place result in Rochester. She also won the W.B. Mason Championship in Brockton.
Hurst becomes the seventh player in Symetra Tour history to win at least six events. The other six are
Marilyn Lovander (10), Laurel Kean (10), Jenny Lidback (8), Tammie Green (7), Lori Astedes (7) and
Marianne Morris (6). She also joins Annie Park – who has won three times – as the only players to win at least twice on Tour this season.
The Tour heads to El Dorado, Arkansas for the inaugural Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout from September 25-27. The final event of the season is the Symetra Tour Championship from October 15-18 at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Florida.
SYMETRA TOUR GRAD MAKES HUGE PUTT IN SOLHEIM CUP: Although Gerina Piller’s win over
Caroline Masson in the Solheim Cup on Sunday morning didn’t clinch the victory for the USA, it kept hopes alive. With the match all square through 17, Piller drained a 9-foot birdie putt on 18 to win her match. Team USA went onto defeat Team Europe 14.5 to 13.5 to bring the Solheim Cup back to U.S. soil.
Piller played three full seasons on the Symetra Tour from 2008-2010 before finishing fifth on the money list in ‘10 to earn LPGA Tour membership. She had 13 career top 10 finishes on the Symetra Tour including six second place results.
OF NOTE: Casey Grice, No. 10 on the money list, posted a 5-under 67 on Sunday to jump from a tie for 33rd to a tie for ninth. She stays tenth on the money list, a mere $245 in front of No. 11, Haruka Morita-WanyaoLu…Laetitia Beck (Caesarea, Israel) made her Symetra Tour debut this week and carded a 6-under 66 to finish third. She played full time on the LPGA Tour this year through her performance at LPGA Qualifying Tournament.