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Caroline Masson wins first LPGA Tour title, Minjee Lee shares seocnd

Masson takes first LPGA Tour title (file photo) (Photo: Bruce Young)
Germany’s Caroline Masson, in her fourth season on the LPGA Tour, has won her first LPGA Tour title with a narrow win at the Manulife LPGA Classic in Hamilton, Ontario, in Canada.

In one of the most congested final day leader-boards of all time, as many as 16 players were within one shot of the lead early in the final round before Masson recovered from a double bogey at her opening hole with nine birdies in her next fifteen holes to win by one over Frenchman, Karine Icher, Korean, Mi Hyang Lee and Australian, Minjee Lee.

The two time Solheim Cup player had been close previously to the breakthrough but this win will allow her to play with the confidence her classy game deserves.

“I always knew that I can win a tournament on the LPGA, said the winner. "I obviously also know that a lot of things have to go right for that. Golf is a funny game, and I was a little streaky this year. I played a lot of great golf, and I missed a lot of cuts and most of them actually by one shot which was really disappointing.

“My parents who are always so supportive and my boyfriend, Jason, who is caddying out here, they all believe in me, so I believe in myself, too. I came here with a great attitude, and I think the mental side of the game is the most important. It's very hard to force yourself to be good, though. And I just came in; I was super relaxed. I'm going home to Germany tonight, hopefully if I catch my flight and play in Germany next week."

Masson previously had her partner caddying for her but he is now working for Japanese star and Australian Women’s Open Champion, Haru Nomura.

“Jason's been caddying for me a while, almost three years, and we've had a second place finish, it worked pretty good. But obviously it's not easy to spend that much time with your boyfriend. We travel together, we're on the golf course, good times or bad times, you have to get along in them.

“And we always say that if we have a feeling that it's not productive or it's not working well anymore, that, you know, we're grown up enough to say let's split and you caddy for somebody else, and that's what happened. And he's been caddying for Haru Nomura, who's won two times on the LPGA since then. They won in Korea last year as well. I mean I'm happy that finally it worked out for me, too, because he was getting all the success there.

“I'm super lucky to have Danny caddy for me, and I was obviously looking for an experienced caddy. He's seen it all with Lorie. He's seen the bad and he's seen the good, and he's a very experienced and calm guy, and I think that's exactly what I needed because I'm an emotional player and person, and you know, he definitely, yeah, just doesn't matter if it's going bad or good.

"You know, you can't really tell with him, and that helps me a lot to just stay calm, keep a little more relaxed on the course, and I trusted him today. That's what Jason told me, he said, hey, you got Danny, he's done it a few times; just trust him and he'll maybe get you over the finish line, and I think that's what he did, and I'm super happy that he chose to caddy for me at the beginning of the year, and I'm so happy that we can win out here.”

The three pre-tournament favourites Lydia Ko, Ariya Jutanugarn and Suzann Pettersen were tied for 5th position another shot behind.

Minjee Lee appeared a real chance to win her third LPGA Tour title when she raced to the turn in 4 under but was only able to tread water over the closing nine narrowly missing two makable putts at the final two holes which would have seen her join Masson in the lead.

“I think I had a pretty good weekend,” said the West Australian. “I mean coming second is always worse than first, but it's better than third. So no, I mean I'm pretty happy with my result.  

Jutanugarn had a chance to tie the lead when standing on the 18th tee but pulled her tee shot into the left hand bushes, was unplayable and returned to the tee before making three with her second ball but the resultant bogey would cost her.


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