Julia Boland with her trophy. Photo: Symetra Tour
Golf Australia Rookie Squad member Julia Boland completed what could prove to be one of the biggest wins of her career when she avoided any final nerves to clinch a one shot win at the Four Wind Invitational on the weekend.
The Tamworth/Magenta Shores member was three shots off the lead heading into the final round on Sunday and shot a 3-under 69 to earn her first professional title and debut title on the Symetra Tour.
In addition to the winner's cheque, the result sends Boland into the Number 3 position on the Symetra Tour's annual "Volvik Race For the Card" where the top 10 finishes earn exempt status on the LPGA Tour in 2013.
The ever articulate Boland was a bit at a loss for words when asked what the win means for her career and knows that with the biggest winner’s check on tour with her name on it now, she’s in perfect position to make a run at earning her LPGA Tour card.
“Obviously it will push me up the leaderboard,” said Boland. “But there is still a lot of the season to play. I think I’ll be playing out the rest of the season. I’m just overjoyed.”
The Aussie recognised the importance of the Race but said she tried to forget about the rankings and the money issue coming into South Bend.
“I’ve been keeping an eye on it so to speak,” said Boland. “But at the same time, after missing the cut last week I sort of let it go. My caddy said she didn’t want any money this week. We struck a deal this week.”
With her win and the largest winner’s check of the season to her name, Boland jumps up to No. 3 in the Race for the Card. She started the tournament at No. 30 and the $22,500 earnings puts her comfortably in the top-10.
Boland fired rounds of 71-72-69 at Blackthorn Golf Club and received the Tour’s largest winner’s check of $22,500 for her one-stroke win over Birdie Kim and Jenny Suh.
The Aussie’s bogey-free round ended with a one-foot putt that she said was much more difficult than it probably looked to the crowd at the 18th green.
“It was terribly long, trust me,” said Boland. “It was absolutely terrifying to be honest. I’ve never had such a difficult, I guess it was like a foot, I don’t even know at this point to be honest. But I said to my caddy when I marked it, ‘do you see my hand shaking?’ I thought it was going to be hard to put it back down. It wasn’t as easy as what I hope I made it look like.”
Boland carded three birdies on the day at Nos. 8, 11 and 13 and sat one shot off the lead at the turn. She said her birdies and even her pars were no walk in the park.
“I was fortunate to hold a putt at 11 and 13 I knocked it close but had a bit of a slider,” said Boland. “Obviously I wouldn’t change anything at this point. I certainly didn’t breeze in.”
Boland said it may not have been the prettiest performance and that some breaks in her day helped her finish at the stop of the leader board.
“You have to have luck to win,” said Boland. “Actually, maybe not luck but you have to have the putts roll. I was fortunate it was my day. The par putts I had weren’t particularly friendly either.”
Boland becomes the first winner this season to earn a victory coming off a missed cut the week prior. It was her first missed cut out of 10 starts last week in Albany, N.Y. at the Credit Union Challenge and said that the win this week was life-changing in terms of her career. Performing so well when the road got tough solidified her belief that she belongs out with the world’s best.
“I think for my career, certainly it’s life changing but we still have some of the season left to go,” said Boland. “I don’t even know where I’m sitting anymore. But certainly feel very blessed to be here.”
The 26-year old rookie becomes the seventh first-time winner in the 2012 season and the second rookie to notch a victory this year.
“I think I’m fortunate to have a few more years on the rest of the rookies,” said Boland. “I’ve been in pressure situations before but I honestly have never felt anything like this. It was certainly a whole new level.”
With a lot of up-and-down scores throughout the weekend through tough weather conditions, Boland admitted to thinking about what score she would have to shoot today to be in contention or win.
“I tried to play that game last night and I thought it was a silly game to play,” said Boland. “I can’t control what the other girls do. I prayed for peace and to be able to play as well as I can and if that wasn’t good enough it’s ok. There have been a few times this year where I’ve been up there and finished well. I just wanted the peace and the comfort to know that I could go out there and control my emotions to bring it home if I had the opportunity to do so.”
with assistance from Symetra Tour