Japanese players dominated early in the week but Scotland’s Gemma Dryburgh took over on the weekend and blew the rest of the TOTO championship field away.
A Saturday 65 then another on Sunday at the Seta Golf Club gave the young Scot her first LPGA Tour victory and her 20-under total for 72 holes was a career best for Gemma.
She finished four shots clear of second place Kana Nagai from Japan. Sweden’s Linn Grant made a Sunday charge and her final round 67 gave her solo third at 15-under.
Dryburgh became the 11th first-time winner this season, tying the LPGA Tour record for most first-time winners in a single year. “I was in Korea last week with friends and I said to them ‘I mention you in my speech’ as a joke. But it’s overwhelming to be honest,” said Dryburgh, who becomes the fourth Scot to win on Tour and the first since Catriona Matthew at the 2011 Lorena Ochoa Invitational. “This has been a dream of mine for a long time. A lot of hard work has gone into this, so it means so much.”
She started the final 18 a shot back of overnight leader Momoko Ueda. Dryburgh took the lead at the turn after Ueda bogeyed the ninth hole. Her lead grew bigtime at the 11th when Ueda made double-bogey while Dryburgh fashioned a birdie, hitting a hybrid approach to four feet.
“That’s kind of a turning point in the round I’d say,” Dryburgh pointed out. “I had a really good shot there yesterday and hit the same club today, so I was confident I could do it again. But yeah, had an incredible shot there and it was a nice birdie on that one. It was quite a tough one.”
Dryburgh then ran away from everyone with four more birdies over her final six holes, including one at 18 that gave her a bogey-free scorecard. “The vibes are just so good,” said Dryburgh, who first joined the Tour in 2018. “I’m lapping it up, to be honest.”
Grant’s solo third was her best career finish on the LPGA Tour for the rookie. “I think I did a good job, unfortunately had a bogey on the last is never fun, but up to that point I did my very best as much as I could,” said Grant. “Got some good game going, some putts, it was fun.”