Erynne Lee outlasted August Kim with a par on third hole of a playoff Sunday to win the Symetra Tour’s inaugural Donald Ross Centennial Classic.
Lee, the former UCLA player from Silverdale, Washington, closed with a 5-under 66 to match Kim at 12-under 201 on French Lick Resort’s Donald Ross Course. Kim, a former Purdue player, shot 64.
Lee earned $30,000 the second-largest winner’s payout on the tour to jump from 23rd to fourth on the money list with $47,990. The final top 10 will earn LPGA Tour cards.
“It’s still hitting me and the thing I’m looking back on is the great golf I played today,” Lee said. “The only thing I could control was my golf so I’m really happy with my attitude and how I played.”
Thailand’s Benyapa Niphatsophon shot a 69 to finish third at 8 under and take the money lead with $70,415. Lee’s father, Brian, returned as her caddie in early June.
“During the first couple tournaments this year, I went solo as it was a mutual decision,” Lee said. “The break was good for us and we learned to appreciate each other more. We’re out here together as a team and it is working out in our favor.” Her mother, Debbie, died during her freshman year at UCLA.
“I went through a downward spiral at school when she passed away, but fortunately with the help from teammates and family it helped me come out of the dark spot,” Lee said. “She wasn’t a golfer, but she had the knowledge because she would watch YouTube swing videos and read books like any other parent. I definitely wouldn’t be here without her.” Lee also the tour’s IOA Championship last year.
“It’s not easy out here, a lot of the girls are really competitive and they are getting younger and younger,” said Lee. “I feel like the win is a long time coming and I was knocking on the door so I’m glad to secure the win.”