Romeoville, Ill. – July 25, 2023 – Amateur Grace Curran (New Lenox, Ill.) captured the 2023 Phil Kosin Illinois Women’s Open title on Tuesday, July 25, 2023, at Mistwood Golf Club in Romeoville, Ill. Curran, a current fifth-year senior at The University of Minnesota, put together rounds of 72 and 70 to force a two-hole playoff against Belinda Lin (Surrey, BC). Curran’s birdie on the second playoff hole determined the result of the tournament, with the New Lenox native taking home the trophy.
Curran fired an even-par 72 in round one on Monday at Mistwood and found herself in a tie for fifth place. The leaders after Monday’s first round consisted of two amateurs, Sarah Arnold (Geneva, IL) and Ali Schrock (Pontiac, IL). Both players carded rounds of 3-under-par 69 to earn spots in the final group on Tuesday.
“I came into today with the mentality to stay calm, cool, and collected,” said Grace. “I knew a few birdies would drop throughout the day and just wanted to keep giving myself chances.”
The birdies did start to drop for Grace, as she went out in 1-under-par 35 to begin her second round. As the afternoon unfolded, the leaderboard saw significant shifting from the top players. Arnold fell back two strokes off the lead as she made the turn, while Schrock fell back to the field with a 1-over par front-nine.
Things began to heat up on holes 14 and 15, as Curran, Schrock, and Lin were tied for the lead at 3-under-par. Schrock caught the bogey bug late on the back-nine which all but ended her run at the title, and set up the showdown between Lin and Curran on the final two holes. As the pressure mounted, Curran reflected on how comforting it was to have her father as her caddie.
“I was so happy to have my dad on the bag this week,” said Curran. “He for sure kept me calm and gave me a couple of good reads as well.”
One of those good reads came on the par-three 17th hole, which played 140 yards in round two. Curran placed her tee shot on the right side of this double-tiered green, which left her with around a forty-footer for birdie, a putt she would end up making to take the solo lead heading to the 18th. Curran’s approach shot into the 18th green hit the flagstick and caromed to the left about 10 feet. After missing her birdie putt to the left, Curran was left with a four-footer back up the hill for par, which would have put her in the clubhouse as the solo leader. However, Curran missed the short comebacker and took a bogey on the 18th to fall back into a tie with Lin, who still had one more hole to play.
“That was a learning moment for sure, I thought I needed to make that putt to remain in a tie for first,” said Curran. “I’ve been a firm believer in not looking at the leaderboard while I play, and that is a situation where I wished I had looked.”
Back out on the golf course, Lin found herself in the driver’s seat with a chance to make a birdie on the last and solidify herself as the champion. Lin’s approach shot ended up in nearly the same spot as Curran’s approach shot into the same green; and much like Curran, Lin missed her birdie putt on the low side.
After the completion of both of their second rounds, Lin and Curran found themselves tied atop the leaderboard at 2-under-par for the Championship. A sudden death playoff was then conducted beginning on hole one, where both players made par four.
On the second playoff hole, Lin found the left rough off of the tee, while Curran placed herself firmly in the middle of the fairway. Lin’s approach flew over the flag and rested around twenty feet behind the hole, resulting in a putt she would miss to make par four. The stage was then set for Curran, as her fifteen foot left to right breaker found the bottom of the cup for a birdie and crowned her the new Illinois Women’s Open champion.
“My dad put a good read on that putt,” said Curran. “It was a good feeling to see it drop, for sure.”
First to congratulate Curran was Greg Kosin, son of Phil Kosin, who was instrumental in the creation of the Illinois Women’s Open. The Kosin Family awards one college scholarship each year to a deserving female who has shown excellence on the golf course, excelled in the classroom, and demonstrated leadership in the community. Curran was the recipient of this scholarship in 2019 and became the first scholarship recipient to also win the Phil Kosin Illinois Women’s Open with today’s victory.
Rounding out the leaderboard, Lin took home low professional honors with her 2-under par 142. Arnold took home third-place honors with a 1-under par 143. Lisa Copeland (Naperville, IL) and Schrock rounded out the top five, coming in a tie for fourth with even-par 144s.
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