LPGA: Maja Stark storms to win at ISPS Handa World Invitational
Maja Stark shattered the course record with a 10-under-par 63 on Sunday to win the ISPS Handa World Invitational at Ballymena, Northern Ireland.
Stark collected six birdies on the front nine and ended up with 10 during her bogey-free round. She finished 20-under-par 271 for the tournament to reside five strokes ahead of LPGA Tour rookie Allisen Corpuz (68) at Galgorm Castle Golf Club.
The victory was the first on the LPGA Tour and fifth on the Ladies European Tour for Stark. The 22-year-old is the 13th different player from Sweden to win on the LPGA Tour, and the first since Anna Nordqvist at the 2021 AIG Women’s Open.
“I’ve been so nervous all day and reminded myself to be calm,” Stark said, per Eurosport.com. “That was easier said than done.”
That didn’t appear to be an issue for Stark, who had a 31 on the turn and wasn’t seriously threatened on Sunday to pocket a career-high $225,000 first-place check. The win also gave the former Oklahoma State star membership on the LPGA Tour without having to qualify.
“I hate qualifying so (I) am so grateful I don’t have to do that,” Stark said.
The event is tri-sanctioned by the LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and DP World Tour. A field of 132 men were also playing on the same courses, with the men and women competing for identical purses of $1.5 million.
Scotland’s Ewen Ferguson secured his second DP World Tour win of the season after recording a wire-to-wire victory in the men’s field. He shot a 1-under-par 69 on Sunday to finish 12-under 268 to win by three strokes over Spain’s Borja Virto (68) and Scotland’s Conner Syme (68).
As for the women’s field, Corpuz claimed second place after recording six birdies against one bogey on Sunday.
England’s Georgia Hall shot her second straight 70 to finish in third place at 14-under, one stroke ahead of Sweden’s Linn Grant (69), Norway’s Emily Kristine Pedersen (70) and Chinese Taipei’s Peiyun Chien (71).
England’s Liz Young (69) finished at 12-under for the tournament, one stroke ahead of LPGA Tour rookie Amanda Doherty (74) and Lauren Stephenson (66). Doherty was bidding to be the first player since Thailand’s Patty Tavatanakit at the 2021 Chevron Championship to win in wire-to-wire fashion.
Yeah, I got a lot of confidence,” Stephenson said. “Anytime you can play well, I wasn’t really too worried about the finish, but just making as many birdies as I could, and just got a lot of confidence. I wasn’t sure I was going to play, so coming out with a hopefully top 10 is really a nice confidence boost to go back to the U.S.”
–Field Level Media