Put­ter run­ning hot as Cheng has first vic­tory

Eastern Courier - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - STAFF RE­PORTER

For­mer Ma­cleans Col­lege stu­dent Liv Cheng won the Gate­way Clas­sic last week at Long­bow Golf Club in the United States.

It’s her first vic­tory on the Symetra Tour, a step be­low the LPGA Tour.

Cheng posted a two-un­der 70 to come from two shots back head­ing into the fi­nal round to force a play-off which she won two holes later after her put­ter was run­ning hot.

She col­lected the first-place prize of $15,000 to move into fourth on the Volvik Race for the Card money list after three events, after start­ing the week in 72nd.

‘‘It feels amaz­ing and I still can’t be­lieve it. I’m over the moon ex­cited,’’ she said.

Cheng made a 17-foot par putt on the 17th hole and a par on 18 to get into the club­house with the lead at seven-un­der.

Mina Hari­gae, of Cal­i­for­nia, who was the co-leader en­ter­ing the day, made a 10-foot par putt on the 18th to force the play-off.

‘‘I was out of po­si­tion with my driver, but I stuck to it and scram­bled,’’ Cheng said.

‘‘I never gave up and trusted my­self and the putts rolled in.

‘‘I had 11 putts on the back nine and that re­ally helped with scor­ing.’’

After two pars on the first play-off hole, Hari­gae’s sec­ond shot went into the haz­ard on the sec­ond play-off hole and that opened the door for Cheng, who was able to drop an eight-footer for par to claim the vic­tory.

‘‘I feel like we kept go­ing in the bunker to­gether,’’ Cheng said, about the bunker shots both had to pull off in the play­off.

‘‘I once again got out of pos- ition with my driver, but I scram­bled to make the par which was great.’’

Cheng at­tempted just 24 putts for the day on her way to a very spe­cial win.

‘‘My put­ter feels re­ally good right now, def­i­nitely the best club in my bag right now,’’ Cheng said.

Cheng has had just one top 10 fin­ish dur­ing her first two years on tour. The win puts her in a great spot early in the sea­son.

‘‘I feel re­ally good about my game. This is my third year play­ing on the Symetra Tour and I feel like this year I have the tools to play bet­ter and get my­self on the LPGA Tour.’’

Cheng fin­ished 63rd on the money list in 2016 and 108th as a rookie in 2015.

‘‘This win makes me re­ally happy that the hard work is start­ing to pay off. I’m def­i­nitely start­ing to see re­sults.’’

FILE: GETTY IMAGES / DANIEL KALISZ

Liv Cheng claimed her first tour­na­ment vic­tory on golf’s Symetra Tour last week.

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