Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rinker wins LPGA Legends event at Innisbrook

Laurie Rinker holds on for a one-shot win in the LPGA Legends event at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor.

Laurie Rinker holds on for a one-shot win in the LPGA Legends event at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor.

PALM HARBOR — Holding a three-stroke lead and 2 under for the day with eight holes to play, Laurie Rinker appeared well on her way to winning the LPGA Legends Tour Open Championship at Innisbrook Resort's Island Course for her first Tour victory.

Then nerves kicked in and what should have been a comfortable back-nine victory lap turned tense Sunday.

Needing to two-putt from 10 feet on 18, Rinker relaxed enough to roll in a tricky, downhill 3-footer and win by one shot over Trish Johnson, Lorie Kane and Barb Mucha.

Rinker, 51, a Florida graduate from Stuart, played her final round at 1-over 74 to finish the two-day tournament at 5-under 141. Last year at Innisbrook, Rinker led by one going into the final round, was 4 over on Sunday and tied for seventh.

"That last hole, I was pretty nervous," said Rinker, who earned $30,000. "It's hard to play when your stomach is in your throat."

As Kane walked up the 18th fairway, the scoreboard behind the green changed, showing that Rinker had bogeyed 17 and Kane and Rinker were now tied at 5 under. Facing a downhill 15-footer for birdie, Kane left her putt 5 feet short. Her par putt slid by the hole.

"I whiffed it, totally mishit the first putt," Kane said. "I thought I hit a good second putt, but that happens. I'm happy for Laurie. She's had some really close calls all season and played well today."

Leading by one, Rinker's drive on 18 struck a tree along the left edge but got a kick into the middle of the fairway. She hit a wedge to 10 feet, came up short on her birdie attempt, then rolled in the championship putt, throwing her hands up and letting out a sigh of relief.

"That last putt was a weird putt," Rinker said. "It looked so fast, and it's hard to make yourself hit it."

Rinker started Sunday's final round at 6 under and moved to 8 under after birdies on Nos. 3, 4 and 5.

Rinker bogeyed No. 9 but recovered with a 30-foot putt on the par-5, 425-yard 10th hole.

On 11, though, Rinker drove into an unplayable lie, and her double bogey combined with Kane's birdie on 12 brought the top two golfers on the Legends Tour season money list into a tie for the lead.

"I lost my confidence a little bit after that double bogey," Rinker said.

Tied through 12, Rinker shot 1 over through the final six holes while Kane was 2 over.

"I did have quite a few chances," Kane said. "I did some really good stuff. I thought I rolled the ball on the lines that I intended, I just didn't hole anything."

Johnson, a rookie on the 45-and-over tour and Rinker's playing partner, was steady over the final round, recording two birdies and one bogey to finish tied for second at 4-under par 142. Mucha was at even par after 27 holes but birdied four of the final nine to move into contention.

"I had a putt for birdie on 17 and another on 18 that I just missed," Mucha said. "But I played solid."

Rinker wins LPGA Legends event at Innisbrook 11/10/13 [Last modified: Sunday, November 10, 2013 8:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the mess they are in right now.

    Tim Beckham stands hands on hips after being doubled off first.
  2. Rays vs. Orioles, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Orioles

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

  3. Rays journal: Sergio Romo excited for fresh start in AL

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Sergio Romo was about to play catch with LHP Adam Kolarek before Monday's batting practice when he paused.

    RAMOS EXITS: Rays catcher Wilson Ramos clutches his head after being beaned by Ruben Tejada’s broken bat in the fifth inning. Ramos leaves the game and receives six staples to close a laceration on his head.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    LHP Blake Snell stepped up when the Rays needed him to — and perhaps when he had to to keep his job — working a season-high seven plus innings. And it wasn't only that he got deep into the game, but how he did so, using his fastball to pound the strike zone.

  5. Urban Meyer says the Big Ten is now the equal of the SEC


    CHICAGO — Ohio State coach Urban Meyer doesn't just believe the Big Ten has closed the gap with the more heralded SEC. He is convinced the race is a dead heat already.

    Ohio State’s Urban Meyer says the Big Ten East is as strong as the SEC East was when he coached UF to two national titles.