Jun 14th, 2021
Historic win for Castren at LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship
26-year-old becomes first Finnish winner on the LPGA Tour
Photography: Getty Images
"It's a huge honour to be a winner as a rookie and especially the first one from Finland," Castren said. "That's a really big honour."
Castren trailed Lee by two strokes going into Sunday at the Lake Merced course. However, a stunning first nine, including four birdies and an eagle at the par-five 5th, saw her out in 30 for a three shot lead.
The 26-year-old then rattled off eight pars as Lee attempted to catch her on the way home. A tap in birdie at the par five final hole saw Castren round in a seven-under 65 to finish on fourteen-under for the event for the two shot victory.
"It's been a dream of mine to win since I was a little girl, and to see it happen and just to win. It's such an amazing feeling." Castren said.
"There is nothing that compares to it. One of my thoughts was, `Well, I don't have to go to Q-School this fall.'"
It was only Castren's fifteenth LPGA start and followed a solid performance at last week's U.S. Women's Open where she finished in a tie for thirtieth.
Lee closed with a three-under 69. The Taiwanese player cut Castren's lead to one with a birdie on the long 15th, but a costly bogey on the short 17th saw her fall two back heading to the last.
"I think I'm playing good today," Lee said.
"Obviously, she played much better on the front, so I'm not going to punish myself because it was a great week."
The 26-year-old player from Taiwan won the Mission Inn Resort and Club Championship two weeks ago in Florida on the developmental tour.
"Winning a tournament you have to practice, and this is a great practice," Lee said. "Maybe after couple times I will be there."
Hannah Green (66) and So Yeon Ryu (67) tied for third at eight-under with a group of four players, that included France's Celine Boutier, a further shot back.
Lexi Thompson had another final round to forget, closing with a two-over 74 to drop down into a tie for thirty-fourth at one-over. A week ago, just down the road at Olympic, she blew a five-stroke lead in the final round at the U.S. Women's Open, handing Yuka Saso the chance to take the title in a playoff with Nasa Hataok.
Michelle Wie West finally made a cut on her comeback trail, closing with a 71 to tie for fortieth at even par for the tournament.
Jodi Ewart Shadoff finished the best of the British contingent, a superb final round of 65 saw her jump up into a tie for ninth with Angel Yin, Lydia Ko and Ireland's Leona Maguire.
Charley Hull finished in a tie for fortieth on level-par after a closing 74 and Georgia Hall (73) was two shots further back in a tie for fifty-second.