World No. 21 wins ShopRite LPGA Classic in spectacular fashion in New Jersay

SWEDEN’S Linnea Strom claimed her maiden LPGA Tour title in spectacular fashion on Sunday, carding a tournament-record 11-under-par 60 to overcome a seven-stroke deficit and win the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer by one shot.

After making the cut on the number following rounds of 69 and 70 at the Bay Course of Seaview Resort, Strom started her final round in 52nd place at 8:20am local time – three hours and 40 minutes before the final group.

The 27-year-old had an eagle, chipping in from 15 feet at the par-5 ninth hole, and nine birdies to set the clubhouse target of 14-under-par 199.

When her closest pursuers, Ayaka Furue and Megan Khang, failed to birdie the par-5 18th hole, Strom became the second Rolex First-Time Winner of the 2024 LPGA Tour season – joining American Bailey Tardy, who broke through at the Blue Bay LPGA in March.

“Honestly, I really did not expect this waking up today. This is proof that you should never give up. Just go out there and give it your all,” said Strom, who birdied her last three holes and four of the final five.

Strom’s 60 was the lowest final round score by a winner in LPGA Tour history, and matched the second lowest score overall, behind her legendary compatriot Annika Sorenstam’s 59 in the second round of the 2001 Standard Register Ping.

The previous best final round for a winner was 61, carded by Korea’s Inbee Park at the 2014 Manulife Financial LPGA Classic.

Japan’s Furue shot a bogey-free 65, but eight pars and one birdie on her back nine meant she ended the day one adrift. American Khang meanwhile tied Strom on minus-14 with a birdie on the 15th hole, but a bogey on the 16th derailed her charge.

Strom’s victory was also the largest final round comeback by position in 40 years on the LPGA Tour. Entering the tournament, she had made just one cut in her last six starts.

“You know, for sure, there have been moments where I’ve been doubting myself, if I’m good enough to win out here. So, it’s just very special to prove to myself today that I do belong here,” said Strom, who is the 15th different player from Sweden to claim at least one LPGA Tour victory in her career.

Thai star Atthaya Thitikul finished solo fourth on 12-under-par, while Switzerland’s Morgane Metraux rounded up the top five on minus-11.

Malaysia’s Kelly Tan missed the 36-hole cut of 3-under-par despite a valiant second round of 68. She had opened her campaign with a disappointing 79. – LPGA Tour