LPGA: Linnea Strom shoots 60 for historic win at ShopRite LPGA Classic

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Linnea Strom made LPGA history by shooting a final-round 60 to win the ShopRite LPGA Classic on Sunday in Galloway, N.J.

The 27-year-old from Sweden began the day tied for 52nd, making her performance Sunday at Seaview Hotel and Golf Club’s Bay Course the largest come-from-behind win in terms of leaderboard position in the history of the tour.

Her 11-under 60 — which featured an eagle and nine birdies, including each of the last three holes — also broke the record for the lowest final round by an eventual tournament winner.

Strom’s birdie binge got her to 14-under 199 at the 54-hole event. Since she began the day at the back of the pack, Strom set the clubhouse pace early and no other player was able to catch her. She finished one shot better than Ayaka Furue of Japan (65) and Megan Khang (66), neither of whom could birdie the par-5 18th to tie Strom.

“I mean, honestly, really did not expect this waking up today,” Strom said. “This is proof that you should never give up. Just good out there and give it your all.”

Strom — who made the 36-hole cut on the number at 3 under par — had to wait four-plus hours for the rest of the field to finish up. When the dust settled, Strom had clinched her first title on the LPGA Tour.

“I had a longer lunch and then I did some stretching and some warmup again,” she said. “Obviously very happy right now. I worked very hard for this. Just surreal that it’s finally happening.”

Strom’s 60 also set the tournament scoring record. After four birdies through her first eight holes, she chipped in for eagle at the par-5 ninth.

“An eagle is always fun and nice to get something extra. Felt like a bonus today with the chip-in on 9,” Strom said. “I tried to just reset going into the back nine. Yeah, just enjoy it and have fun out there with my caddie.”

The reset helped. She birdied Nos. 10, 14 and 16 through 18 for a 5-under 29 on the back nine.

Her competitors were left with no choice but to give credit where it was due.

“I mean, Linnea, incredible 11 under,” Khang said. “First off, hats off to her. That’s crazy out here, let alone last round.”

Khang made six birdies on Sunday, including four in a six-hole stretch to start that back nine, getting her to 14 under and a tie with Strom. But she bogeyed the following hole before a par-par finish.

“For me, knew I was going to have to chase and didn’t realize it was going to be that early on in the round, but (at) 18 (I) told myself (to) give myself a good chance,” Khang said. “Did a pretty good job. It wasn’t terrible being at the back of the green, but just didn’t execute my chip the way I wanted to. Funny enough, the birdie chip, gave it a pretty good run itself.

“It is what it is. It’s kind of hard to be upset to lose to an 11-under day.”

Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul shot a 65 and finished in fourth at 12 under. Switzerland’s Morgane Metraux (66) was next at 11 under. New Jersey native Marina Alex posted a 64 to get to 10 under, finishing tied for sixth with South Korea’s Narin An and Taiwan’s Wei-Ling Hsu, each of whom shot 69.

Jenny Shin of South Korea, who held the second-round lead, finished in a tie for ninth at 9 under after a 1-over 72.

–Field Level Media

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