Austin Ernst secured a third LPGA Tour title and second in as many years with a wire-to-wire victory at the LPGA Drive On Championship in Florida.
Ernst took a one-shot lead over Jennifer Kupcho into the final day at Golden Ocala Golf Club and quickly pulled clear of her playing partner, with a two-under 70 enough to cruise to a five-shot win.
The American finished on 15 under and five shots clear of Kupcho, who could only return a 74, with compatriot Jenny Coleman a further two strokes back in third ahead of Korea’s In Chee Gun.
After the leading duo opened with three straight pars, a two-shot swing saw Kupcho bogey the fourth and Ernst roll in an eight-foot birdie to open up a three-shot advantage.
Ernst lagged a putt from off the green to six feet and posted another birdie, before firing her tee shot at the sixth to close range and taking advantage of the par-five seventh to reach the turn six ahead.
Kupcho birdied the 10th and 12th, where Ernst posted the first of back-to-back bogeys, to briefly reduce the advantage to three, only for Kupcho to also drop a shot at the 13th and then make a double-bogey at the 15th.
Ernst then parred the last three holes to complete her convincing victory, which is her first since the 2020 NW Arkansas Championship.
[email protected] goes wire-to-wire‼️
Ernst wins her third Tour title by five strokes! 🏆💪#DriveOn | @volvikUSA pic.twitter.com/guQjed14Qm
Ireland’s Leona Maguire birdied the last two holes to end the week tied-sixth alongside Danielle Kang, while a final-round 70 from Charley Hull was enough to claim a share of eighth place.
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