FOLLOWERS Delasin's late surge nets her tie for 3rd
The defending champion and Grace Park finished at 11-under par.
By BRIAN RICHESSON
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
VIENNA -- As the tournament unfolded in its final round Sunday, Dorothy Delasin grew stronger.
She began to move up the leaderboard, and it was hard not to think about a three-peat performance in the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic at Squaw Creek Country Club.
The two-time defending champion had rallied from behind to win the 2000 and 2001 tournaments, and she seemed destined to do it again this year.
"I want the leaders to look back and see who's there," said Delasin, 21, in her third year on tour. "I'm one of those silent players who just creeps up from the back."
Magic ran out
Unfortunately for Delasin, her magic ran out. Six strokes off the lead to begin the day, Delasin couldn't make up enough ground, shooting a 5-under-par 67 in the final round to tie for third with Grace Park.
"I think I ran out of holes," said Delasin, a native of South San Francisco, Calif., whose tournament total of 11-under 205 was three strokes off winner Mi Hyun Kim.
Knowing she had to make up plenty of ground, Delasin avoided watching the leaderboard. She did have her caddie, Clint Begay, keep her updated and motivated.
"He told me I had a chance and to just go out there and play my game. He told me that at the 15th hole, and I'm like, 'All right, it's on.' "
Delasin birdied the 15th hole, but she played the final three in even par, surrendering a tournament that has helped put her on the LPGA map.
"I knew I needed to birdie three holes in a row coming down the stretch," Delasin said. "At 17 I had a great up and down [to save par]. I just kept plugging away."
Delasin spoke Saturday of improving her play on the front side. She birdied the first hole Sunday, but followed that with two pars and a bogey and was forced to make up too much ground at the end.
"I knew I needed to make early birdies on the front nine," Delasin said. "I started off slow. I just think the back nine was my friend this week."
Delasin, who earned $58,000 for her finish, has built momentum with her play in Ohio tournaments. It's no different this year.
"Overall I'm happy where I placed," she said. "I haven't played this well or consistent in a while. I just hope to carry it over for next week."
After an opening-round 72, Park played the final two rounds in 11-under par, gradually working her way into contention.
"I struck the ball so well," said Park, a Korean in her third year on tour. "But it was one of those days where a 67 feels terrible. I had so many birdie chances, but I couldn't put it in the hole."