March 30, 2023

Jodi Ewart Shadoff Wins the LPGA’s Mediheal Championship

Jodi Ewart Shadoff won for the first time in 246 starts on the LPGA Tour Sunday at the Mediheal Championship in Solis, California.

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It wasn’t easy for the 34-year-old Ewart Shadoff, who led after the first three rounds, and entered Sunday with a four-stroke cushion at -14. After a bogey on the ninth hole, Ewart Shadoff’s lead had completely evaporated as she fell to 13-under and a charging Paula Reto had gotten it to 14-under with four birdies in her first eight holes.

But Ewart Shadoff got back into a tie for the lead with a birdie on the 12th, and Reto faltered down the stretch, bogeying two of her final three holes to finish with a 3-under 69, tied for third with Danielle Kang and Georgia Hall at -13 on the week. It was another fine effort for Kang, who has been battling health issues, and lost in a playoff two weeks ago at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. She carded 68/67 on the weekend this week, and made four birdies and an eagle Sunday.

Until Ewart Shadoff holed out on the 18th, the clubhouse lead was held by Japan’s Yuka Saso at 14-under. The 21-year-old and 2021 U.S. Women’s Open Champion was six strokes back to start the day, but closed with a 66 to grab solo second and the $166,232 check. Saso birdied four of her final five holes.

Ewart Shadoff will collect $270,000 for her first career LPGA win, which moved her into 22nd place in the LPGA’s season-long points competition, the Race to the CME Globe, which will see the top 60 finishers play compete for a $7 million purse at the Tour Championship from November 17-20. The win also bumped Ewart Shadoff up 31 places to #62 in the Rolex World Rankings.

Ewart Shadoff became the 10th different player to win on the LPGA Tour this season. The record is 11, set in 1995, and there are still four more official events remaining on the schedule, starting with the BMW Ladies Championship October 20-23 in South Korea, home to many of the LPGA’s stars, including world #1 Jin Young Ko.

Ko was not in the field this week at the Saticoy Club, which was hosting the event for the first time. She remains sidelined with a wrist injury, and is hopeful to make her return at the Koran event later this month. Atthaya Thitikul (#2) was the only player in the Rolex Rankings Top 10 to take part in this week’s event. She finished in a five-way tie for eighth at 10-under.

The LPGA is off this week in advance of the tour’s trip to South Korea, but several of its stars are expected to be among the field at the Aramco Team Series New York. Among the names expected to appear at the Ladies European Tour-sanctioned event at Trump Ferry Point are Nelly Korda, Brooke Henderson, Lexi Thompson, and Ireland’s Leona Maguire.

Be sure to check back with The Golf Spectator for more LPGA Tour news.