Juli Inkster made up her mind to turn what could have been a morning of wayward shots into a champion’s winning round.

Struggling on the range in her morning warm-up, the LPGA veteran slowed down her swing and catapulted herself back into the winner’s circle at the Walgreens Charity Classic.

Inkster carded a final-round score of 8-under 64 at Grandview Golf Course to win the 36-hole event with a score of 12-under 132, defending her title at the season-opening Legends Tour tournament.

Michele Redman of Minnesota moved up the leaderboard throughout the final round and made her last charge with a birdie on the 18th hole to finish in solo second place with a final-round score of 5-under 67. Redman finished four shots behind Inkster at 8-under 136.

“I was hitting it so bad on the range,” said Inkster, who earned her fourth Legends Tour win today. “But then I went to the first tee and hit a really great drive and then a great second shot and that settled me down. I don’t think I missed a fairway.”

Once the LPGA Hall of Famer shook off her morning jitters, she also settled down her usual stellar wedge game that let her down during Saturday’s opening round. She called today’s final round “very stress free,” and it showed in how she attacked the course.

“We had a lot of fun and I’m honored to repeat,” said Inkster, who took home the winner’s prize of $30,000.

Rounding out the top five was third-place finisher Betsy King (69) of Arizona, at 7-under 137; first-round leader Barb Moxness of Minnesota (71), who finished fourth at 6-under 138, and England’s Trish Johnson (69), who climbed to 5-under 139 for fifth place.

Arizona’s Shelley Hamlin charged from behind to catch first-round leader Jan Stephenson and win the Legends Honors Division (for players age 63 and over). Hamlin carded a one-over final-round score of 73 to draw even for the lead with the Australian, who fell back with a score of 3-over 76 in regulation.

The two moved into a sudden-death playoff, won by Hamlin on the second hole. Hamlin hit a 5-wood from a fairway bunker to the back of the green and saved par, while Stephenson took bogey on the second playoff hole.

Hamlin’s last win came in 2003 in the championship division, but today’s victory, 14 years later, was even sweeter for the LPGA legend.

“I don’t do nerves anymore,” joked Hamlin. “I’ve outgrown that. It feels amazing to win again. I am thrilled and lucky.”

For complete final results of the Walgreens Charity Classic, check out http://bit.ly/2mof1ys

For more information about The Legends Tour, visit www.thelegendstour.com.

 

Image credit: Rick Sharp

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