Giant Eagle LPGA Classic
Giant Eagle LPGA Classic
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Gallagher-Smith wins with tournament record

The only thing missing after her first LPGA Tour victory, Jackie Gallagher-Smith said, was her husband.

Her parents drove from Indiana for today's final round of the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic, but her husband, Eddie Smith, missed out because changing his flight would have cost too much.

With a $150,000 winner's check in hand, "I guess we can cover it now," she said.

The fifth-year player shot a 7-under-par 65 to finish at 17-under and win by three strokes over Marnie McGuire.

Gallagher-Smith's final score of 199 was a tournament record for the 6,308-yard, par-72 Avalon Lakes Golf Course. Michelle McGann set the previous mark of 200 in 1996.

Gallagher-Smith, whose brother Jim plays on the PGA Tour, was among the last to realize she'd won. She spent today hitting golf shots, not watching the leader board.

"I really had no idea what was going on," she said. "I didn't know until my caddy told me I was up by four.

"I really never looked at the scoreboard, I was just trying to concentrate on my game. I could feel the crowd rooting me on. I did catch a glimpse, accidentally, of the scoreboard on No. 14. I saw my name but didn't really see any numbers."

McGuire led after two rounds at 11-under, one stroke ahead of Michele Redman, Missie McGeorge and Gallagher-Smith. Aside from that trio, there were 36 players within five strokes of the leader.

Gallagher-Smith, who won $150,000, had missed 11 of 19 cuts this year and had yet to crack the top 20 in a tournament. She was not accustomed to seeing her name atop the leader board, as it was from the moment she hit an 8-iron into the cup from 132 yards for eagle on the 375-yard, par-4 No. 7.

McGuire, also seeking her first title, fell out of contention on the 360-yard, par-4 14th, after hitting her tee shot into the woods on the left and having to take a drop from an unplayable lie.

"I had one bad shot all day and it turned into a double bogey," McGuire, a 30-year-old New Zealand native, said. "There were a lot of roots where my ball ended up, but there was an opening where I thought I could hit through after my drop and maybe make bogey. But my drop kicked violently to the right and behind a tree, so I had to pitch out."

Defending champion Se Ri Pak finished at 11-under after shooting 68. McGann, the only two-time winner of the event, failed to make the cut. Marta Figueras-Dotti, who shared the lead with Gallagher-Smith after the opening round, finished 10 strokes back.

Little by little the contenders kept falling behind Gallagher-Smith. McGeorge bogeyed three of the first four holes. Redman fell apart in the final 12 holes and finished the day at 1-over.

Leigh Ann Mills, Lorie Kane and Karrie Webb finished five strokes back. Webb's third-place prize of $54,514 moved her atop the money list with $1,074,051. Juli Inkster, the previous leader, took the week off.

 

AP


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