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RUIXIN LIU WINS ISLAND RESORT CHAMPIONSHIP
HARRIS, Mich. — Trailing by three shots entering today’s Island Resort Championship final round, Ruixin Liu (Dalian, China) overcame not only the deficit, but also high winds and an injury sustained mid-round to find her way to the Symetra Tour winner’s circle for the first time.
With her dad Zuoyi on the bag, Liu captures that coveted first professional career victory in her second season on Tour.
“It means a lot because it feels like there’s finally some improvement in my game,” said Liu, who raised the trophy with her mom Zhengzi also in attendance. “Emotional, because I was really nervous to wait there since I wasn’t in the final group. Just feeling the cheer with my family, it was really emotional. I really appreciate everything my dad and coach did for me.”
For the final round, Liu fired a 3-under par 69 to conclude the tournament at 9-under overall and claim the $26,250 winner’s check. The total vaults her into the Volvik Race for the Card top-10, checking in at No. 5 with $37,301 earned across nine events.
Meanwhile, Liu’s injury occurred to her back on No. 14, part of the back nine which Liu found her way through at even par.
“The wind to me, some holes I really tried to play it safe, aiming in the middle of the green,” Liu said. “Then I twisted my back on hole 14 because it was a reachable par-4 and I really tried to go after it. My right foot slipped, but for the last four holes dealing with that, my dad just told me to be patient. I really appreciate that advice otherwise I might have done something stupid.”
Liu now has two top-five results this year and today’s performance comes at a place that has been friendly to her. In the 2017 Island Resort Championship at Sweetgrass Golf Club, Liu finished tied for second.
“I think this course just has some charm for me,” said Liu. “Last year I feel pretty confident, even though it was really windy also. This year, everything just feels right. I feel it’s kind of easy for me to putt on this kind of green because it’s really similar to my home course. It was in really good condition and I really love this place.”
Two players finished at 8-under par just one shot behind Liu, including Lori Beth Adams(Burlington, North Carolina) and Min Seo Kwak (Seoul, Republic of Korea). Playing in the group after Liu, Adams had a birdie opportunity on No. 18 to get to 9-under par that came up just short.
As she stood over the putt, Adams said she knew what was at stake.
“I did, glanced at the leaderboard. I really wanted that one, but next week,” Adams said. “The double [bogey] on 13 kind of hurt, but I came back with a birdie on 14 and then missed a 3-foot putt on 15. The wind was really tough, especially on the back nine with the cross winds. My best finish so far, so good tournament.”
Playing in the final pairing, Ssu-Chia Cheng (Taipei, Chinese Taipei) entered the day as the outright leader. When she placed her ball on the tee of No. 18, she was at 8-under and also understood what she had to do.
However, her second shot proved to be the deciding factor.
“My ball was in the hazard and it was right between the rocks. I was going to take a drop, but then I saw there was maybe a chance I could chip it out,” said Cheng. “For the second shot, I was not very sure about where to lay up, or what the play is. My driving was okay, but not my irons and then there was some pin positions that were really tough.”
Liu’s win comes on the heels of another win for the Island Resort Championship. During tournament week, it was announced that Island Resort & Casino has extended its contract for two years, so the event will run through 2021. In addition, the purse will be increased to $200,000 and the field will include 156 players.
VOLVIK RACE FOR THE CARD STANDINGS
Another tournament in the books means another juggling act when it comes to the Volvik Race for the Card top-10.
Following her win and $26,250 winner’s check, Ruixin Liu moves up 26 spots to make her 2018 Volvik Race for the Card top-10 debut at No. 5. Here is a look at the current top-10 heading into the 10th event:
- Jenny Haglund (Karlstad, Sweden) – $49,751
- Dottie Ardina (Laguna, Philippines) – $39,718
- Elizabeth Szokol (Winnetka, Illinois) – $38,390
- Isi Gabsa (Munich, Germany) – $37,467
- Ruixin Liu – $37,301
- Stephanie Meadow (Jordanstown, Northern Ireland) – $36,995
- Vicky Hurst (Melbourne, Florida) – $34,007
- Pajaree Anannarukarn (Bangkok, Thailand) – $28,853
- Min Seo Kwak – $27,334
- Maia Schechter (Chapel Hill, North Carolina) – $24,984
POTAWATOMI CUP STANDINGS
The 8th annual Island Resort Championship marked the second leg of the 2018 Potawatomi Cup, a points system with bonus money available to players based on performance.
The next event in the series is the PHC Classic at Brown Deer Golf Course in Milwaukee, Wis., from Aug. 10-12. Here is a look at the current top-five:
- Maia Schechter – 541.50 points
- Ruixin Liu – 500 points
- Eun Jeong Seong (Yongin, Republic of Korea) – 286.50 points
- Lori Beth Adams – 245 points
- Min Seo Kwak – 245 points
- Louise Stahle (Lund, Sweden) – 245 points