Nomura braves wind to take Swinging Skirts title
Japan’s Haru Nomura shot a one-over par 73 in difficult conditions Sunday to win the LPGA Tour’s Swinging Skirts tournament for her second title of 2016.
The 23-year-old Nomura managed to extend her three stroke 54 hole lead as she finished at nine-under 279 to win by four shots over runner-up Lee-Anne Pace of South Africa.
She became the third player to record multiple victories this year, joining Jang Ha-Na and Lydia Ko. Nomura posted her first win on the US Tour in February when she captured the Women’s Australian Open crown.
Sunday’s Swinging Skirts competitors had to brave windy conditions which included gusts of up to 40 mph (60 km/ph) at the Lake Merced Golf Club.
A testament to the tough conditions on Sunday — not one player who started the day the top-10 carded a sub-par final round.
Ji Eun-Hee posted the low round on Sunday with a two-under 70 as 10 players finished under par for the week, the fewest of any event in 2016.
But Nomura did a better job than most of handling the tricky conditions. She made three consecutive bogeys on the front nine to drop her lead to one.
But she recovered by draining a 70-footer for birdie at the par three, 12th hole to stretch her lead.
“I hit it right and it went 100 percent in,” said Nomura of the long putt.
The last Japanese player to post a pair of wins in an LPGA Tour season was Ai Miyazato in 2012.
Pace, who began the day tied for second, carded a 74 to finish at 283.
Gerina Piller, who shot 73 Sunday, and Choi Na-Yeon (75) shared third place at 284.
South Korea’s Ryu So-Yeon, who shot a tournament-record, nine-under-par 63 in the opening round, fired a 75 on Sunday to take fifth place at 286.
Lexi Thompson (71) tied for sixth at 287. Also sharing sixth place were two South Koreans, Jenny Shin (72) and Mi Jung-Hur (74), as well as top-ranked Ko of New Zealand (75) and Brooke Henderson of Canada (76).
Ko, the Swinging Skirts winner in both 2014 and 2015, turned 19 on Sunday.