American Cheyenne Woods secured her first major professional tournament when she held off a strong challenge from Australian amateur Minjee Lee to win the Volvik RACV Ladies Masters on the Gold Coast.
The 23-year-old shot a final round of four-under-par 69 on the RACV Royal Pines layout to finish the tournament at 16-under-par, two shots ahead of 17-year-old Lee who also posted a 69 to finish on 14-under-par. South African Stacy Lee Bregman (72) and Swede Camilla Lennarth (70) finished in a tie for third position at 12-under-par.
Another Swede Caroline Hedwall (66) soared up the leaderboard to finish in a share of fifth position with South Korean amateur So Young Lee and fellow compatriot Minsun Kim.
It's the best result in Woods' two-year professional career, with the interest in the niece of superstar Tiger Woods resulting in the American Golf Channel taking the final two hours of the broadcast live into the United States.
Woods was absolutely elated with her win, “This is a huge accomplishment for me.”
“The Ladies European Tour has been great to be able to play this last year, I’ve been able to see all of these great players, play with Solheim Cup members, so I’ve learned so much from all of these girls and to be able to come out here and actually compete with them and come out on top was huge for me.”
Encouraging words from her coach before she left for Australia have certainly came true.
“All off season I was just getting ready with my coach back home and he told me he thinks that this is my year, my time to finally get a win and to have it this early in the season is exciting, especially with European Tour and then here in Australia. I’m just really proud with how I played this week and followed through all four days and finished strong.”
The win didn’t come as a huge shock even though she missed the cut last week, “Not necessarily a shock but I missed the cut last week by two shots in New Zealand, 77, 71 so I didn’t play well last week but I came into this week with a new mindset, I worked on a few things and everything just kind of clicked. It worked out really well, after the first round I knew I could win, so from then on that was the goal.”
Woods started the final round with a one shot lead, she immediately picked up a shot with a birdie on the par-4 1st.
A bogey on the par-4 4th and a hat-trick of birdies on the par-4 6th, 7th and 8th by the reigning Australian amateur champion brought the pair together. However, Woods took the outright lead again with a birdie on the par 5 9th.
The world No.363 didn't relinquish that advantage, adding birdies on the par-5 12th and 15th before a triumphant birdie on the par-5 18th completed a five-birdie, one-bogey final round.
For Lee, she was thrill with her efforts, “Yeah, I haven’t really been in this situation before so I am happy with how I played today and hopefully there are many more to come.”