(Reuters) - Kris Tamulis emerged from obscurity for a surprise one-stroke victory at the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic on Sunday.
The 10-year LPGA veteran edged fellow American Austin Ernst and Taiwan’s Yani Tseng at the Senator Course at Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Prattville, Alabama.
Tamulis piled up 12 birdies and a bogey in her final 29 holes for her first career victory.
The 34-year-old was among a large group that had to return to complete the third on Sunday morning because of weather delays on Friday and Saturday.
With 11 holes left in the morning, Tamulis got on a roll and posted a five-under 67 and then closed with an even more impressive 65 for a 17-under total of 271. Third round leader Ernst closed with a 69, while Tseng shot 67.
“We were trying to beat the weather all day and I think we were really lucky that we finished today,” Tamulis said.
“Honestly, if we would have called it after 36, I think I was maybe like tied for ninth or 10th, I would be, great, fine, that’s okay. I get to go home. “So now it’s even better. Now it’s just like cake.”
Tamulis was ranked 125th in the world and had only five top-10 showings in 189 career tournaments. She even missed the cut in three of her past four events.
But she finally found her form with the putter. “I’ve really been working hard on my putting the last couple weeks,” she said.
“These greens are probably the fastest I’ve played in I don’t even know how long.
”So I’ve been just working on the speed and trying to hit it on the right side of the hole.”
Reporting by Tim Wharnsby. Editing by Andrew Both