Doughtie Wins Ladies Titan Tire Challenge in a Playoff

MARION, Iowa -— Lauren Doughtie stepped to her ball on the 18th green at Hunters Ridge Golf Course.

Marissa Steen had just missed her birdie opportunity and now Doughtie's 15-foot putt was all that stood between her and her first professional win.

She paused, looked at the cup and then down at her ball. The Suffolk, Va., native went into her putting motion, and then pumped her fist as she watched the ball drop into the hole, giving her the Ladies Titan Tire Challenge title.

"I was just thinking, 'Please go in,'" Doughtie said.

Doughtie shot a 69 in Sunday's final round of the Titan Tire Challenge to finish at 4-underpar and claim the $16,500 first-place prize, catapulting her into the top 10 of the Symetra Tour's money list. She began the weekend at No. 88 on the list.

She had to fight for the victory, though. Doughtie was forced to wait for the final group to finish playing, as she began the day in a tie for ninth at 1-under. She played four groups behind the second-round leaders

Steen and Paola Moreno both gave solid efforts throughout the day as they started the 18th hole at 4-under, tied with Doughtie.

However, Moreno bogeyed the final hole while Steen made a par, but left a birdie putt inches away from the cup on 18, which would have given her the win. She was still able to force a one-hole playoff.

As Moreno and Steen played their final holes, Doughtie was seen on the driving range, not watching the competition.

"I wanted to just keep loose and let my mind settle for a little bit," Doughtie said

Staying out of the spotlight was a theme for Doughtie on Sunday. She said she prefers to not play in the final group on the last day of competition.

"You have more pressure, everyone is watching you when you're in the lead," Doughtie said. "When you're creeping up from behind, people don't necessarily see you coming until the end."

On the playoff hole, both Doughtie and Steen drove their tee shots down the fairway and followed up those shots with close approaches; both balls were approximately 15 feet away.

Steen putted first, missing by mere inches once again, giving Doughtie the opportunity. The rest is history.

Doughtie said the nerves were definitely there before the final tee shot at the 18th hole.

"Once I got that first swing off the tee, though, I felt a lot better," Doughtie said.

Steen said she couldn't complain too much about the result because of
how impressive Doughtie was.

"I would say it's bittersweet," Steen said during Doughtie's trophy presentation. "She beat me with a birdie so I can't complain about that. I'm happy that I came out and played so well, but I was just so close."

Steen shot a 1-over 73 for Sunday's final round. She, Doughtie and Moreno were the only players to shoot below par for the tournament. No members of the current top 10 on Symetra's money list finished higher than 13th in the tournament.

Doughtie said she plans on playing in the remaining tournaments on the Symetra Tour, including next weekend's Tate and Lyle Players Championship in Decatur, Ill.

"I'm going to keep on playing all the other tournaments and ride this momentum," she said.
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