Mallory Blackwelder won the Symetra Classic on Saturday for her first Symetra Tour title, closing with a 5-under 67 for a two-stroke victory in Charlotte, N.C. The 26-year-old former University of Kentucky and Woodford County star had a 10-under 206 total at Raintree Country Club.
"It feels amazing," said Blackwelder, the daughter of former Kentucky player and coach and LPGA Tour star and Myra Blackwelder and tour caddie Worth Blackwelder. "I have been thinking about this moment for a long, long time and it's really surreal.
"I didn't look at the leaderboard on the back nine, so I wasn't really sure what kind of position I was in. I knew obviously that I was playing great, so walking up to the 18th I saw that I had a three-shot lead and I was on the green, so I knew that I was on cruise control and that just felt amazing."
Mallory Blackwelder earned $15,000 to jump from 24th to sixth on the money list with $24,721. The final top 10 will earn 2015 LPGA Tour cards.
"I just played really solid all week," said Blackwelder, who opened with rounds of 69 and 70. "Last week, my mom, who's pretty much my swing coach and teacher, came on Sunday to Asheville and we worked on my short game a lot.
"I had a lot of easy up-and-downs last week, but I wasn't converting, so we just made a few tweaks. I changed my putting setup a little bit. "My posture had just gotten a little slumped, so I just stood taller to it this week. I putted great and I hit the ball great."
Her mother watched her win Sunday,
"It just couldn't be better," Blackwelder said. "She hasn't gotten to watch me play a whole lot the last couple of years, so it's just amazing that she could be here. ... She has put her heart and soul into my career and made a lot of sacrifices."
Emily Talley was second after a 68.
■ Colin Montgomerie took the third-round lead in the Senior PGA Championship, making a winding, 30-foot birdie putt on the final hole for a 3-under 68. Trying to win his first major championship, the 51-year-old Scot took a 7-under 206 total into the final round at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Mich.
Kenny Perry (Lone Oak, WKU) rallied Saturday, following up a 75 with a 66 to get to 2-under par. He's tied for 11th with fellow Kentuckian Russ Cochran (St. Mary, UK).
"I don't see the leaders backing up, I really don't," Perry said. "I think what I'm going to need to do is shoot another 62, like I did two years ago on Sunday and that would get me in the ballpark, I think. ... At least I've got a shot."