Former Women Of Troy Golfer Linda Ishii Wins Futures Golf Classic|
May 8, 2002
Albuquerque, N.M. - Former Women of Troy golfer and second-year Futures Tour player Linda Ishii was crowned Sunday as a first-time Futures Tour champion at the $70,000 Isleta Casino & Resort Futures Golf Classic in Albuquerque, N.M.
Ishii shot rounds of 71-71-67 to finish the 54-hole tournament at seven-under-par 209. She beat former LPGA Tour player Lisa Hall of Stoke-on-Trent, England, by three strokes. Ishii played at USC from 1996-2000.
Ishii, who played in the second to last group, began the round tied with Hall for fourth with a two-round total of 142 (-2), three strokes shy of first and second-round leader Nadine Ash of Richards Bay, South Africa. Ishii's 34 (-2) front nine included birdies on holes one and five. Upon making the turn, Ishii was in a five-way tie at four-under-par for the tournament with Hall, and the final pairing trio of Ginter-Brooker, Kim and Ash.
"I didn't realize that I was tied with four other players until the end of the round," stated Ishii, who was tied with 17 other players after the first round with a 71 (-1). "The scores have been close all weekend and anyone could have come out the winner. I knew that I had to come out and play solid and make all of my putts."
Coming down the final stretch with five players vying for the crown, Ishii's three-birdie effort on the back nine pulled her out in front of the pack. Despite winds that picked up to 25 mph late in the afternoon, she took the lead for the first time after carding birdies on holes 11 and 13. Ishii sealed the win on the par five 577-yard 17th hole. Her second shot landed 60 yards from the pin in the right greenside bunker. She blasted the ball out to five feet and made the putt for birdie.
"I started to get really nervous on the back nine, especially when I had to make that bunker shot," stated Ishii, who collected a $9,800 first-place check. "I never expected to birdie that hole. Once I came up to the 18th green and saw that I was ahead by three shots, I felt a lot less pressure. All I wanted to do was finish strong."
Last year, Ishii posted four top-10 finishes including a tie for third at the 2001 Innerform Golf Challenge in Grand Rapids, Mich. She earned $16,504 and finished 21st on last year's money list. Upon missing the cut after the first sectional round of the 2001 LPGA Qualifying Tournament, Ishii was determined to prepare herself for the 2002 Futures Tour season, working relentlessly on her short game.
"I was really disappointed when I missed the cut at Q-school," stated the 23-year-old native of Chiba, Japan. "It made me realize how much more I needed to work on my game. My goal is to finish at least in the top-10 this year and play great golf. If I can accomplish that, everything else should fall into place."