WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Julieta Granada gave herself the perfect birthday gift, surely not minding that it arrived a bit late. Two days after turning 20, the LPGA Tour rookie from Paraguay got her first victory â€” and, perhaps more importantly, took home the first $1 million prize in women’s golf.
Granada shot a bogey-free round of 68 Sunday, beating an eight-player final-round field to win the ADT Championship at Trump International and take home most of the event’s $1.55 million purse.
The win pushed her season’s earnings to $1,633,586 â€” not bad for someone who finished outside the top-10 finishers in 23 of 30 events this year.
Player of the year Lorena Ochoa (70) was second, earning $100,000 and securing the top place on the season-ending money list. Karrie Webb (71) was the only player who could have passed Ochoa in that department, needing a win to do so. But Webb went home with $20,500 â€” meaning she and Granada were separated, essentially, by $326,500 per shot.
“Obviously, it was in the back of your mind all day,” Webb said of the huge winner’s share. “Because of that, you knew it was in the back of everybody’s mind.”
Only 32 women qualified for the event, where the field was trimmed to 16 after the second round, then down to eight for the final round â€” when the scores were wiped away and everyone teed off at even-par in an 18-hole shootout for $1 million.
Granada, the youngest of the eight players Sunday, somehow never flinched. And even if the scores hadn’t been wiped out, her four-round total of 276 would have been three shots better than anyone else in the field.
Granada backed away from her second shot on the 18th fairway, distracted by the roar two holes away, where Ochoa had made birdie â€” giving her two in a row â€” to get within one of the rookie’s lead.
Granada got her 5-iron approach â€” her mother, correctly, thought it was one club too much â€” on the green, but well behind the hole. Her first putt got to about 3 feet, and the par try was perfect, protecting her one-shot lead.
And when Ochoa and Webb â€” Granada’s two closest pursuers â€” each found the water with their tee balls at the par-3 17th, the outcome was all but sealed.
It was the veteran players that cracked today. Granada played steady the entire round and was a deserving winner. One million dollars is a nice way to celebrate one’s birthday. Congrats to Julietta. As for a certain Palm Beach Post columnist, Dave George how does that crow taste?
Note- If scores had been carried over from the first 54 holes, Granada would have won in that format also.
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