Caroline Masson shot a final round 67 to break through for her first career LPGA victory at the Manulife LPGA Classic on Sunday and earned her second career title following the 2012 South African Women’s Open on the Ladies European Tour.
Masson started her day three shots off the lead and recorded a double bogey on the first hole at Whistle Bear Golf Club in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. The 27-year-old from Gladbeck, Germany, then ratted off nine birdies mixed with two bogeys throughout the rest of her round for a final round of six-under-par 66 and a one stroke win over Karine Icher, Minjee Lee and Mi Hyang Lee, with a total of 272, 16-under-par.
“It’s hard to believe,” said Masson. “I mean it really is. Obviously I was in a good position coming into today, and I was thinking, well, if I can shoot a really good round, I might have a chance, but I was totally not expecting it.”
Masson, who is projected to move from 87th to 44th in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, admitted that her 2016 season had been a bit of a frustrating one. She made the cut in 14-of-21 starts (Previous best: T6, ANA Inspiration) before the week at Whistle Bear where she became the first German player to win on the LPGA since Sandra Gal at the 2011 Kia Classic.
“Golf is a funny game, and I was a little streaky this year. I played a lot of great golf, and I missed a lot of cuts and most of them actually by one shot which was really disappointing. It was a really frustrating period this year. And you know, it’s all about just keep working and believing that you can do it, and that’s what I did and that’s what my team helped me with,” she added.
Masson, who tied for 21st representing Germany in the recent Olympic Golf competition in Rio de Janeiro is a two-time European Solheim Cup Team member (2013, 2015) with a 2-3-2 overall win-loss-draw record. She will be playing back in Europe on her home course, Golf Club Hubbelrath, in Germany, in the ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters, from Thursday.
“I mean it’s going to be huge, obviously, going back and playing next week,” said Masson. “I think it’s probably the promoter’s biggest dream come true that I could win this week and come home and play next week. So I think it’s going to be a lot of fun and people are going to be very excited.”
Masson will be the star attraction in a field of 144 international competitors, as one of 12 German players including fellow Olympian and Solheim Cup player Sandra Gal.