Clanton, Suwannapura win LPGA Tour team event in Midland
Midland — Cydney Clanton and Jasmine Suwannapura ran away with the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational on Saturday, shooting an 11-under 59 in best-ball play for a six-stroke victory.
Clanton and Suwannapura took a five-shot lead into the final round after shooting an alternate-shot 63 on Friday at Midland Country Club in the LPGA Tour’s first-year team event. They finished at 27-under 253.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Suwannapura said. “I couldn’t ask for a better partner.”
Suwannapura won her second tour title, and Clanton her first.
Clanton earned spots the next two weeks in the Evian Championship and Women’s British Open. The first Auburn University player to win on the tour, she began the season without a full LPGA Tour card after finishing $8 out of the top 100 on the 2018 money list. Clanton has split time this year on the LPGA Tour and developmental Symetra Tour, winning the Symetra Tour’s El Dorado Shootout in April.
“I couldn’t even dream up to have won a Symetra event earlier this year and then to come out and win with Jasmine,” Clanton said. “It’s so funny, this is the tournament that I wanted to come and play in. I was like, ‘Team event, I’m in, let’s go.’ So, I’m blessed for the opportunity, I’m blessed that Jasmine came and let me come play with her.”
Jin Young Ko and Minjee Lee closed with a 58 to finish second.
“We both played better than we did the last time we played four-balls,” Lee said. “We just had a better rhythm out there. I think we just fed off each other. Jin Young had so many birdies today, so I just tried to keep up pretty much.”
“I’ve had full status before, but it will allow for me to kind of sit back and relax a little bit and kind of set my own schedule,” Clanton said. “I think it’s just going to free me up because it’s been something that I’ve been working on. I guess I was quite down for the first couple years.”
Suwannapura, from Thailand, also won the Marathon Classic last year.
Clanton and Suwannapura each bogeyed the first hole, then each had eight birdies.
“Actually, felt pretty good on the first tee,” Clanton said. “Didn’t hit a great shot into the green, but I’m not going to lie, the majority of my rounds start with bogeys. So I told Jasmine, I was like, ‘Dude, we’re ready. We’re ready to go. We got it out of the way. we’ll go low.’”
Sisters Ariya Jutanugarn and Moriya Jutanugarn tied for third with Na Yeon Choi and Jenny Shin at 20 under. They each shot 61.
“So much fun,” Ariya Jutanugarn said. “Need to be patient with alternate shot, but also even best ball we still have to be patient because we feel like you going to make birdie hole after hole, but it’s not going to happen.”
Canadians Brooke Henderson and Alena Sharp were fifth at 19 under after a 61.