18th August 2014 | Sunshine Ladies Tour
Simon makes a comeback at LPGA Champs
South Africa’s Ashleigh Simon endured a few weeks in the doldrums as she recovered from a back injury, but on Sunday the three-time Sunshine Ladies Tour champion rallied to a top 40 finish at the Wegmans LPGA Championship.
The 23-year-old Joburg pro carded rounds of 74 and 72 at the Monroe Golf Club in Pittsford, New York to make the cut on the number, but racked up five birdies in the third round for a four-under-par 68 to vault to a tie for 18th.
However, just when Simon looked to be cruising to a solid finish in the final round, the two-time Ladies European Tour winner crashed to a closing 77 after dropping four shots over the last three holes.
Simon bogeyed the sixth, birdied the 10th and dropped another shot at the 13th but followed back-to-back pars at the 14th and 15th with a bogey, double bogey, bogey finish.
Simon was forced to withdraw after 12 holes in the third round of the ISPS Handa Ladies European Masters at Buckinghamshire Golf Club in July. A week later, she missed the cut at the Ricoh British Women’s Open at Royal Birkdale and, although she grinded out a joint 71st finish at the LPGA Tour’s Marathon Classic, an opening 78 at last week’s Meijer LPGA Classic proved too costly.
The joint 40th finish in Pittsford lifted Simon to 90th in the Race to CME Globe and will go a long way in restoring the confidence with which she started the LPGA Tour season. She also climbed to 96th in the Official Money List, courtesy of her 40th place cheque, worth $10,324.
South Korea’s Inbee Park successfully defended her title in the season’s fourth Major when she defeated American Brittany Lincicome at the first play-off hole.
The pair tied at 11-under-par 279 after Park closed with a 70 and Lincicome signed for a 71. Park clinched her fifth Major victory with a par against the America’s bogey at the par-four 18th.
South Africa’s Paula Reto carded rounds of 70, 71, 76 and 75 to tie for 48th on four-over-par 292, but former Ladies European Tour number one Lee-Anne Pace missed the cut, set at 145, after rounds of 72 and 78.
Simon, Reto and Pace head for the London Hunt and Country Club in Ontario, Canada for the $2,250,000 Canadian Pacific Women’s Open this week.
PHOTO Ashleigh Simon; credit Catherine Kotze / SASPA.