DeWitt At an age when many are still in the midst of their college years, Victoria Elizabeth has made her way to one of the grandest stages in all of women’s sports.
With her victory Sunday in the Symetra Tour Credit Union Classic at Drumlins Country Club, the 20-year-old Elizabeth, a native of Dayton, Ohio, earned $15,000, and all but locked up the LPGA Tour card reserved for the tour’s top 10 money winners at season’s end.
A scoring burst early in Saturday’s second round gave Elizabeth the lead, and she never let go of it, withstanding some late charges in Sunday’s final round to beat Thailand native Thidapa Suwannapura and Canadian Rebecca Lee-Bentham by two shots with a 12-under-par total of 201.
Elizabeth, who turned pro as an 18-year-old in 2010, had already enjoyed a successful year, with a pair of runner-up finishes on the Symetra Tour, but had yet to win.
Yet she said that playing in this same tournament (under the old Futures Tour banner) in 2010 and ’11 gave her confidence and experience that proved handy the third time around.
Thirty-three players had to return early Sunday morning to complete their second rounds. Of them, only Birdie Kim, the 2005 U.S. Women’s Open champion, was in serious contention, five under through 15 holes when darkness fell Saturday night, and that's where she would finish.
As the final round started, the lurkers included Kim and Utica native Moira Dunn, who was at four-under-par 138. Neither Dunn nor Kim would factor into the final drama – and for a while on Sunday, Elizabeth attempted to eliminate any possible suspense.
Deft chips on the pair of opening par-fives led to birdies, and on 3 she drained a 32-foot downhill putt, by far her longest of the day, to get to 12 under.