Stephanie Kono of Honolulu, who played at UCLA, held on to claim her first professional victory by one stroke over Dottie Ardina of the Philippines and Karen Chung in the Donald Ross Classic at French Lick Resort in French Lick, Ind.
Kono carded a score of 68-66-68—202, 11-under-par and won the second-year event on the Symetra Tour, triple-A circuit of the LPGA Tour, despite making a bogey on the final hole.
“It’s amazing and I still can’t believe I did that,” said Kono, who won four tournaments and was a three-time All-American with the Bruins, but has been plagued by back injuries as a pro. “Such a great feeling and I’m so grateful. I was out for a while last year and just had some bad times. I’ve had such a good group of people around me that kept me believing. This is unreal, but I’m so thankful.
“It hasn’t really been easy for me. … I kind of doubted if this would ever happen. I didn’t want that to be the end of my career and I didn’t want that to hold me back from doing what I knew I could. This is just so rewarding for me because six months ago I was sitting down and not able to move. That was the third time that happened. I can’t believe I did this six months later.”
Chung, who played at USC, shot 70-66-67—203, while Ardina finished at 72-66-65—203.
Demi Runas of Torrance and USC totaled 71-67-67—205 to tie for fourth with Dana Finkelstein of UNLV, who also finished at 71-67-67—205, August Kim, who wound up at 66-69-70—205, and Isi Gabsa of Germany, who came in at 66-69-70—205.
Kyung Kung of USC shot 67-72-67—206 to tie for eighth with Min Seo Kwak of South Korea, who totaled 72-67-67—206, Morgane Metraux of Switzerland, who finished at 71-67-68—206, and Haley Mills, who wound up at 66-71-69—206.
For complete results, visit http://www.symetratour.com/leaderboard.