Despite a more than four-hour rain delay, the United Kingdom's Olivia Jordan-Higgins grinded out a 1-over 72, good enough to give her the first Symetra Tour win in her career at the Credit Union Classic.
Drumlins Country Club was inundated with rain after the final group finished up the Par 5 first hole, rendering the course unplayable from 10:48 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. When play resumed, Jordan-Higgins was able to play steady golf on the changing course conditions, which allowed her to watch as her playing partners had up and down rounds, leaving Jordan-Higgins at the top at 6-under par at the end.
"I'm very excited," Jordan Higgins, who moved up to 6th in the Volvik Race for the Card, says. "I think it's going to take a couple of days actually. It's a bit of an emotional roller coaster, on a high at the moment. I imagine there might be some tears of joy later."
Jordan-Higgins had to withstand a surging P.K. Kongkraphan throughout the final round. After making birdies on three of her first four holes, Kongkraphan led for much of the front nine. But, a Kongkraphan bogey on the Par 4 10th combined with a Jordan-Higgins birdie provided for a two-shot swing, giving Jordan-Higgins the lead briefly. But Jordan Higgins bogeyed the Par 4 11th, tying the score at 6-under. A Kongkraphan bogey on the tough Par 4 15th gave Jordan-Higgins the lead for good. She admitted the competition made the day a lot more interesting.
"It definitely made the day very stressful, but I just had to keep believing in myself, just keep doing what I'm doing and focusing on me, rather than what she was doing," Jordan-Higgins says.
It did not come without drama though, as on the Par 4 18th hole, Jordan-Higgins, at 6-under, and Kongkraphan, at 5-under, both hit drives in the fairway. Kongkraphan then hit her approach shot about 10 to 15 feet from the hole, with Jordan-Higgins coming up a bit short, her ball settling on the front of the green, about 25 feet from the cup. Jordan-Higgins' initial putt for birdie came up several feet short, leaving her about 6 feet for par.
The crowd was hushed as Kongkraphan addressed her potential tournament tying/playoff forcing putt, to only see the ball trickle barely to the right of the cup, leaving the tournament in the hands of Jordan-Higgins.
"I was definitely nervous," Jordan-Higgins says. "My hands were shaking, I wasn't quite sure if I was going to be able to putt it...I just kind of had to leave it down to instinct."
She definitely got it there, as the ball rolled into the right side of the cup, securing her first Symetra Tour win. A smile curled on her face, fellow Symetra Tour golfers came for the traditional spraying of water bottles on the Credit Union Classic champion. The putt did not come a moment too soon, as mere seconds later, the skies opened up once again into a windy downpour.
With the win, Jordan Higgins took home the $15,000 first-place purse, but also received $2,000 for winning the Credit Union Cup, which is given to the Symetra Tour player who cards the lowest scoring average between the Credit Union Challenge in Albany, and the Credit Union Classic in Syracuse.