Cindy LaCrosse’s season-long domination of the Futures Tour continued right down to the final two holes.
The Futures Tour’s leading money winner nearly aced the 18th hole in regulation, settling for a tap-in birdie putt of less than a foot, and then two-putted for par from 10 feet on the first extra hole to beat Jennifer Song and capture the Price Chopper Tour Championship Sunday at Capital Hills at Albany.
It was the third victory of the season for LaCrosse, a Tampa, Fla., resident who shot a 69 in the final round and finished the three-day event at five-under-par 208. She earned a check for $16,800. Song, who locked up rookie of the year honors, also shot a 69 in the final round, and like LaCrosse, birdied the final hole in regulation. Song pocketed $12,000.
“This feels great,” said LaCrosse. “I’m very excited. It’s been a long season, and I’m very happy to be No. 1 at the end of the year. I’m so excited to get my full [LPGA] card.”
The top five on the Futures Tour money list earn full LPGA Tour cards for next season. The next five receive provisional cards.
LaCrosse, a 23-year-old University of Louisville graduate and former Big East Player of the Year, made two great swings on the par-3 18th hole.
“The first time I played the 18th hole, I hit a 6-iron,” she said. “Just before I hit my shot, I heard a roar from the 17th green, so I knew I had to hit it close. In the playoff, the wind picked up a little, so I hit a 5-iron. Both times, I hit the ball just the way I wanted to.”
LaCrosse, who already had provisional LPGA status this year, said as the No. 1 player on the money list, she didn’t feel pressure to succeed in the season finale.
“I was pretty much relaxed, because there wasn’t too much to worry about. It was all about having fun,” she said.
“It’s amazing. This is my first playoff win of the season, and it’s also my third win of the season. Winning three times was one of my goals.”
Song, a USC graduate from Ann Arbor, Mich., has two Futures Tour victories this season. She also finished strong in regulation to force the playoff.
“I was definitely watching the scoreboard,” she said. “I knew what I needed to do on the 18th hole, but I tried not to pressure myself. I hit it on the green to about 10 feet and made the putt.”
Song, who also chipped in for birdie on the 17th hole which drew the loud roar that LaCrosse heard on the 18th tee, said she battled butterflies in the playoff.
“I was nervous a little bit. I was just trying to hit something on the green.”
Unfortunately, Song missed the green to the right, chipped to about six feet and missed her par putt.
“I still feel super excited about finishing in the top 10,” she said. “I’m also very happy about finishing as rookie of the year. I can’t put it into words, but I’m really grateful. My dad set up an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of my earnings, but I told him I didn’t want to know where I needed to finish.”
Jenny Shin of Torrance, Calif., who was the first-round leader and shared the second-round lead, tied for fifth (72-210) and finished in the top five on the money list.