Molly Aronsson of Shelburne shot a final-round even-par 72 to capture the 2014 Island Resort Championship on Sunday at Sweetgrass Golf Club. She finished at 1-under for the three-day tournament, one stroke in front of her college teammate at the University of Washington, Sadena Parks.
Aronsson becomes the ninth first-time winner on the Symetra Tour in 2014. The win is her first in competitive golf including her amateur, college, and professional career.
“This is a really special place to me and to win here with family ties is amazing,” said the fourth year Symetra Tour member Aronsson. “I love the resort, I love the course, it is just spectacular and the fans were outstanding. I just had a blast all week and that contributed a lot to the win.”
The Shelburne native’s ancestors came over from Sweden and settled in Escanaba. “This place feels so close to me, it feels like it is my home in a way. I love the small town; I love all the little shops. A lot of people don’t know that this great town exists and I hope I can help spread the word about this town.”
Aronsson entered the day in a tie for sixth, three shots back of second round leader Lacey Agnew. She started fast with birdies on three of her first four holes to move to 3-under-par. Aronsson made bogey on the seventh to make the turn at 2-under-par.
Parks held a two shot lead over Aronsson after a birdie on the 11th hole to move to 3-under, but back-to-back bogeys by Parks on the 12th and 13th holes evened the score at 1-under. Playing in different groups, Parks made birdie on the 15th hole to take a one shot lead. Aronsson made par on the 18th hole to enter the clubhouse at 1-under. Parks, who was at 2-under heading to the 17th hole, made bogey on the 17th to move back to 1-under. Then, Parks’ tee shot on the 18th went in the water and she was forced to get up-and-down from near the bleachers right of the green to force a playoff.
With Aronsson watching from outside the scoring tent, Parks’ putt from 10-feet lipped out and Aronsson won by one shot. “I knew it was close, I actually just tried to focus on me and my game. The wind was so hard and the conditions were just so tough this week. I knew if I put a good number up I would have a chance. I tried to just really stay in the zone. I did see the leaderboard here and there, but I just committed to every shot and tried to let the results take care of themselves.”
Aronsson was waiting for quite a while by the scoring tent as Parks was in the final group, two groups behind Aronsson.
“I had no idea really what was going on. Someone mentioned that Sadena had hit it in the water, but I know she is a fighter and I heard she almost got up-and-down for par (which would have forced a playoff).”
With the win, Aronsson moves from 117th to 13th on the Volvik Race for the Card money list. In 56 career Symetra Tour events, she had recorded just one top-10 finish in 2013.
“The win is huge. I’ve known I’ve had it in me for a while and I was wondering if I would ever let the athlete come out in golf. Other sports were so much easier for me, they came naturally and I didn’t fight myself. The last couple years have been a battle mentally and I think I am finally starting to see the light.”