Kris Tamulis Wins Yokohama Tire LPGA ClassicIt could be said that Kris Tamulis won a marathon on Sunday. Make that marathons. Tamulis charged out of the pack on Sunday to win the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic in Prattville, Alabama, a victory that is a testament to her perseverance on a number of levels.
Because of the weather issues that plagued the event earlier in the week Tamulis was forced to play 29 holes of golf on Sunday. But she made the most of the situation, finishing 67-65 to complete the 72 holes in 17-under par 271. She then waited some 45 minutes for the final group to finish. Austin Ernst and a rejuvenated Yani Tseng each missed birdie putts at the final green that would have created a playoff.
At age 35 Tamulis was winless in 11 LPGA seasons prior to Sunday. “It’s amazing,” she said. “I was definitely not expecting this today. I was just out there playing my game and I had a lot of opportunities for birdie, which was really nice to have. Kept it below the hole for the most part. Honestly didn’t even know what I shot until I counted my birdies at the end of the round. It was a marathon out there. We were just trying to get it in, beat the weather, and that’s it. So it’s unbelievable.”
Tamulis said she was able to stay on an even keel emotionally throughout the long day, with help from her caddy, known on tour as Motion.
“Mo is a terrific supporter of me,” Tamulis said. “He believes in me when I don’t believe in myself. He keeps me going when I don’t want to be out there. He most always has a smile on his face. He puts a smile on my face sometimes, too, which is nice. He’s just great. He has the best attitude of anybody I’ve probably ever met. “
The victory brings with it some tangible rewards. Tamulis is assured of a spot in the CME Group Tour Championship this fall and has likely errand enough to be part of the LPGA’s annual fall trip through Asia.
“At the end of the day the money list is really important,” she said. “CME, you need to be very consistent and you get points every week, and I’ve been kind of blah and have a good week and then a little blah, so I was losing points and losing ground every week. Actually, the last couple weeks not putting well at all, and so this week was important for me because I just wanted to make sure that if I wanted to play in all five Asian events, that I was high enough on the money list. I didn’t look to see how much I dropped after last week, and now I don’t have to worry about it.”
It’s been three-and-a-half years since Tseng last tasted victory but the former world number one is feeling upbeat about her game.
“I just feel that I’m so ready to win,” she said, “you make that put to get into the playoff. I’m just very happy to be back on top again and feel like I’m finally getting very comfortable on the course and enjoy the golf again and I smile, stay relaxed and I just missed that little bit, that pressure, that nerves on the last few holes or on the last group. So just very happy to be back on top again and just still have a few tournaments left so I’m just going to keep fighting.”