OTSU, Japan — Gemma Dryburgh became the first Scot to win on the LPGA Tour since 2011 and was “surprisingly calm” to claim victory by four strokes at Sunday’s LPGA Japan Classic.
The World No.199 hit seven bogey-free birdies in her final round at Seta Golf Club in Shiga Prefecture to claim her first Tour title.
It also gave Scotland its first winner on the tour since Catriona Matthew triumphed at the 2011 Lorena Ochoa Invitational.
Dryburgh started the first day behind leader Momoka Ueda but posted a 65 on the final day, taking 20 under par with 268 overall, four ahead of Japan’s Kana Nagai (65).
The 29-year-old from Aberdeen said winning the tournament was “mind blowing” but showed no signs of nervousness as the prize draw neared.
“She was surprisingly calm,” said Dryburgh, who finished her round with a birdie. “When I dreamed of this moment I thought I was super, super nervous, I’m not going to lie to you. But he was incredibly calm, to be honest.”
Dryburgh was the fourth different Scotsman to win on the LPGA Tour, after Matthew, Janice Moodie and Kathryn Imrie.
He started off steady with two birdies on the front nine, but really caught fire when he got to the finish.
Dryburgh said a par-11 three was “the turning point” as he shot five birdies from eight holes.
“I had a really good shot there yesterday and I hit the same club today, so I was sure I could do it again,” she said of her yardage on the 11. “But yeah, I had an amazing shot there and it was a good Yardie on East.
Sweden’s Linn Grant (67) was third, a shot behind Nagai.
Ueda, who had led since the first round, dropped back to fifth place after a disastrous 74 in the last round that included three bogeys and a double bogey.
Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul was 10th after her 10-under round 67. She was playing her first tournament since she became the second youngest World No. 1 in women’s golf history last week after an impressive debut year.