Farnsworth captures Illinois Women's Open

Writing from Romeoville, Illinois

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Mistwood Golf Club goes all out for the Phil Kosin Illinois Women’s Open, its signature event. That includes live scoring online and a crew manning leader boards on the course.

All of which was superfluous to Alexandra Farnsworth of Nashville, Tenn.

“There’s a lot of leader boards out here, I really focused on not looking at them, and I really think it paid off,” Farnsworth said Wednesday.

By staying in her own world, the Vanderbilt senior managed to fire a 5-under-par 67 to win the 23rd IWO, finishing at 8-under 208 and beating fellow amateur Hannah Kim of Northwestern and Chula Vista, Calif., by two strokes. Pros Vivian Tsui of Canada and Samantha Postillion of Scottsdale, Ariz., who grew up in Hinsdale, tied for third at 5-under 211, and split first and second money to collect $4,250 each.

Addison’s Dana Gattone, heading into her senior year at Illinois, was the low Illinois resident, scoring 1-under 71 for 2-under 214.

Farnsworth, two strokes behind 36-hole leader Tsui, was in the penultimate group, which played into her hands.

“I like coming from behind, and it was definitely a help to myself,” Farnsworth said. “It made me focus on myself. I could kind of tell (she was leading) because of the group of carts around us.”

Farnsworth scored six birdies, offset by a bogey on the par-3 14th. But she birdied the holes before and after to get to 8-under, while Kim birdied the 15th and 17th after her bogey on the 14th.

Kim went out in 3-under 33, but a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 10th put her into catch-up mode. She scored 2-under 70 for 6-under 210.

“That created a mental block for me,” Kim said of the double-bogey. “It was hard for me to get back to getting birdies. I just tried to play my game and get the putts rolling in again.”

Farnsworth had been winless in college play, and hadn’t hoisted a trophy since high school. She said she put more pressure on herself than she should have last year, thinking she had to hit certain scoring standards to realistically have a shot when she turns pro. That changed a few weeks ago after talking with friends.

“This breakthrough really, really means a lot to me,” Farnsworth said. “It’s frustrating being in the hunt a lot and not being able to pull through. I think I’ve learned from experience to focus on myself, don’t worry about the other people, and that really helped.

“I’m fully back to enjoying the game again.”

Postillion’s check was the biggest of her young career. She bogeyed the 14th and 15th holes, but birdied the par-3 17th to score 2-under 70 and get back into the tie with Tsui for low pro. Tsui also bogeyed the 14th, but played the last four holes in each par to finish at 72 for 211.

“For the most part, I handled the adrenalin well,” Postillion said. “Other than one hole today (the 15th, a sculled chip), I played a lot of great golf. I was never too worried about making bogeys and I was always patient about making birdies. It did not feel like a grind.”

Tim Cronin

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