Olson Doubles 18, Stanford Wins Evian by 1
September 16, 2018
EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France -- It's been a good year for a couple of professional golfers from the Fargo area. Tom Hoge, the former two-time Minnesota State Amateur champion from Fargo, has made more than $1.35 million on the PGA Tour, and Amy Olson (formerly Anderson) has just cracked the $500,000 barrier on the LPGA Tour. But their years could have been a lot better if it hadn't been for two holes.
In January, Hoge led the Sony Open in Hawaii with 2 1/2 holes to go in the final round. He was in the middle of the fairway at No. 16 when he pulled his approach into a greenside bunker. Then he failed to get the next shot out of the bunker, and he ended up missing a 9-foot putt for bogey. That double bogey -- combined with a pair of missed birdie putts from inside of 10 feet on the 17th and 18th holes -- enabled Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to tie for first. Kizzire went on to win a playoff and $1.1 million.
As it turned out, the double cost Hoge a chance to claim his first PGA Tour victory -- and roughly $700,000.
On Sunday, Amy Olson, the former two-time Minnesota PGA Junior Girls champ from Oxbow, was in position to win on the LPGA Tour for the first time. Not only that, the tournament she was leading by a stroke with one hole to go was a major, the Evian Championship.
But then Olson, who had missed only one fairway through 17 holes, pulled her tee shot on the 18th at Evian Resort Golf Club. She compounded the problem by failing to get her chip-out back to the fairway, which left her with a 130-yard third shot from thick rough. From there, she left her ball 45 feet short of the hole. Needing to make her par putt to win the tournament, she gunned it 8 feet past the hole, and proceeded to miss the bogey putt, as well.
It was a disastrous finish, and as a result, victory in the final major championship of the 2018 LPGA Tour season went to Angela Stanford. There was some irony in that, because Stanford appeared to hand the tournament to Olson 45 minutes earlier, when she made a double-bogey 5 at the 16th hole.
That gave Olson a two-stroke lead. But Stanford rallied, making a 30-foot putt for birdie at the 330-yard, par-4 17th hole, and very nearly birdying the 18th, a 417-yard par-4 that was the most difficult hole on the course during the tournament. Stanford's birdie attempt at 18 grazed the edge of the cup and wound up an inch behind the hole. She couldn't believe that it missed, and neither could anyone else who watched the putt.
(The 18th used to be a par-5 but was turned into a really difficult par-4 specifically for the purpose of adding drama to the Evian Championship. It definitely served that purpose at this year's tournament.)
This was the 40-year-old Stanford's sixth LPGA Tour victory, her first since 2012, and her first major. She came close to winning a major 15 years ago, as anyone who follows Minnesota golf probably knows. She was in a three-way playoff with former Minnesota state high school champ Hilary Lunke (formerly Homeyer) and Kelly Robbins for the crown in the 2003 U.S. Women's Open at Pumpkin Ridge in Portland, Ore. Lunke won the tournament by making a 15-foot putt on the 18th hole of the playoff.
Stanford closed with a 3-under-par 68, for a 72-hole total of 272 (minus 12), and earned $577,500 for her efforts in France.
Olson shot 74 on Sunday. The double at 18 dropped her into a four-way tie for second -- along with Mo Martin, Sei Young Kim and Austin Ernst -- at 273. Her share of the runner-up spot was worth $244,615. In other words, the double cost her $332,885.
Even so, the 26-year-old former U.S. Girls Junior champ -- and winner of a record 20 college tournaments during her four years at North Dakota State -- was far from devastated by the reversal of fortune at No. 18. After all, she is having by far her best year as a pro. The $504,153 that she has made in 20 events thus far has her at No. 34 on the LPGA Tour money list. Last year, she made $112,075 in 22 events and ended the year No. 97 on the money list, barely keeping her exempt status. If you're not in the top 100, you have to go back to Q-School.
"Obviously, it's really, it's really disappointing to finish like that," Olson said. "But I had a great week. I have so many positive things to take away from it. I'm very pleased. This is my best finish in a major. So that's always a positive."
As a matter of fact, the tie for second was her best finish in any LPGA tournament, but it was her fifth top-10 this year, including a tie for ninth at the ANA Inspiration, which was the first major of the 2018 season.
The Evian Championship
At Evian Resort Golf Club
Par 71, 6,523
1. Angela Stanford $577,500 72-64-68-68--272 (12 under)
T2. Amy Olson $244,615 69-65-65-74--273
T2. Sei Young Kim $244,615 69-68-64-72--273
T2. Mo Martin $244,615 68-66-69-70--273
T2. Austin Ernst $244,615 66-70-69-68--273
T6. Ryan O'Toole $121,293 68-74-63-69--274
T6. Jeongeun Lee6 $121,293 72-66-67-69--274
T8. Inbee Park $91,949 68-69-67-71--275
T8. Jessica Korda $91,949 69-71-67-78---205
T10. Lydia Ko $69,096 72-70-67-67--276
T10. Brooke Henderson $69,096 67-69-72-68--276
T10. So Yeon Ryu $69,096 67-69-72-68--276
T10. Katherine Kirk $69,096 68-73-66-69--276
T10. Mi Hyang Lee $69,096 68-66-73-69--276