Mallory Blackwelder wins Symetra Classic

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — 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.

The 26-year-old former Kentucky player had a 10-under 206 total at Raintree Country Club.

“It feels amazing,” said Blackwelder, the daughter of former Kentucky coach and LPGA Tour player 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.”

She earned $15,000 to jump from 24th to sixth on the money 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.”

Emily Talley was second after a 68.

Min Seo Kwak was third at 7 under after a 69, and Kendall Dye was another stroke back after a 72.

Cindy Feng, Demi Runas, Krista Puisite and Olivia Jordan-Higgins tied for fifth at 5 under. Feng and Runas shot 70, Puisite had a 73, and Jordan-Higgins a 74.

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