An LPGA star finally found herself in the winner’s circle at the CVS Charity Classic, five years after women began playing in the two-day exhibition at Rhode Island Country Club in Barrington, R.I.
Escorted by Jay Haas, Morgan Pressel made history Tuesday, with the duo breaking a three-way tie for the lead after the first day, and finishing 21 under par, two shots better than the teams of Suzann Pettersen and Fred Funk, and Lexi Thompson and Corey Pavin.
Haas and Pressel, one of three teams to shoot 62 in Monday’s better-ball format, shot a 12-under-par 59 during Tuesday’s scramble. They birdied every hole on the front nine except for a par on No. 2, added birdies at the 10th and 11th, then eagled the 12th. By then their lead had stretched to five, and six closing pars were more than enough to deliver the victory.
“This is my favorite tournament to play in each year and it’s such an honor to win it,’’ said Pressel, who came close last year, finishing second with Davis Love.
LPGA stars began competing in the 20-player field in 2007, when Natalie Gulbis and Juli Inkster participated. This year, nine of the 20 players were either current or past LPGA stars, including two former top-ranked players in the world, Lorena Ochoa and Annika Sorenstam.
Tournament hosts Billy Andrade and Brad Faxon, who were tied for the lead after a Monday 62, had a 64 in the scramble and tied for fifth. The other first-round co-leaders, Inkster and Dana Quigley, finished in ninth after a 66. Andrade did win $25,000 for Special Olympics Rhode Island, taking the closest to the pin contest at No. 17, when his tee shot finished 2 feet, 8 inches away.
Since its debut in 1999, the CVS Charity Classic has raised more than $15 million for area charities.
Women’s Amateur Public Links - Brittany Altomare of Shrewsbury advanced to match play, shooting a 73 for a two-day total of 142 in Neshanic Station, N.J.
Altomare tied for ninth in stroke play, and will be the ninth seed in match play, facing Gabi Oubre’ of Mobile, Ala.
Other local players included Brittany Weddell (80-80) of Buzzards Bay, Karolyne Shieh (83-77) of Carlisle, and Alison Eleey (85-79) of Quincy. Lisa McCloskey of Houston, who finished second in this event in 2010, was the stroke-play medalist, shooting 70-67.
Amateur Public Links qualifying - Herbie Aikens of Kingston secured one of two spots into next month’s tournament, shooting 68-72 at George Wright Golf Course in Hyde Park.
The Amateur Public Links is July 9-14 in Midway, Utah. Justin Keiley of Provo, Utah, was the medalist at George Wright after rounds of 69-68.