After she finished off a 4-stroke victory Saturday in the inaugural Valley Forge Invitational golf tournament, Louise Ridderstrom returned to the 18th green for the trophy presentation and was greeted by her fellow Swedish golfers unloading open water bottles on her.
She didn't get very wet, and the liquid probably felt good on a muggy day at Raven's Claw Golf Club in Limerick Township. But Ridderstrom, 24, a second-year Symetra Tour player who starred at UCLA, was very happy with the support she received, especially with staff members of the Swedish national golf team in the crowd, including head coach Patrick Johnson.
"We're very, very close, all of us, and we try to be because we tell ourselves if any of us do well, that means we all can do well," she said after collecting the $15,000 first prize. "That's kind of the team spirit that we want. I think everybody wants to show the coaches that we're here, we're good, and of course it was huge that they were here."
Ridderstrom, who trailed by 3 strokes entering the day, carded nine birdies in firing a sizzling 8-under-par 63, the low round of the tournament. She closed the deal with three birdies in her final five holes, including a 3-footer at the 18th, and finished at 16-under 197.
Laura Wearn, the 36-hole leader, kept the heat on for much of the round but 3-putted for a bogey at the pivotal 16th, the same hole where Ridderstrom drained a 22-foot birdie putt. Wearn closed with a 70 and tied with Min-G Kim for second at 201.
Ridderstrom said she knew she had something special after concluding her front nine with her fifth birdie of the day. After a birdie at No. 10, she bogeyed the tough 11th hole but made sure she shook it off and kept her nerves under control.
"I told myself that winning is pretty hard," she said. "There are a lot of good girls out there on this tour, and winning takes a lot. You need to have some luck to it. So I told myself, 'If it's my turn, it's my turn, and just try to do the best I can and see what happens.' "
Meanwhile, Wearn had a roller-coaster round going that saw her card an eagle, a birdie, and three bogeys on the front. Birdies at 10 and 13 got her to 13-under, but Ridderstrom, playing in the group ahead of Wearn, took the lead for good with a birdie at 14.
It came down to the 16th, a short par-4. Ridderstrom made her birdie putt and offered a fist pump in celebration. The long-driving Wearn, with just 40 yards to the pin, tried to bounce her approach on to the green, but the ball shot off the downslope and rolled to the back, from where she 3-putted.
"There were a lot of positives," Wearn said. "Obviously today was a little disappointing. Louise won it, but I was still hoping to have a good round, so I was a little disappointed with how I played. But the week was great."
The week also was great for Hatfield's Isabella DiLisio, who carded her best round of the weekend, a 69, and finished tied for 34th at 210.
"It meant so much to me," said DiLisio, who will be entering her senior year at Notre Dame. "It was awesome just getting a chance to see how the pros play and seeing kind of like how I stack up against them. Having my friends and family out here also made it really special."
Louise Ridderstrom 69-65-63—197
Min-G Kim 69-66-66—201
Laura Wearn 65-66-70—201
Jenny Haglund 67-68-67—202
Demi Runas 67-67-68—202
Jenny Coleman 67-66-69—202
Charlotte Thomas 67-65-70—202
Stephanie Meadow 69-70-64—203
Esther Lee 71-67-65—203
Justine Dreher 69-69-65—203
Christina Foster 67-67-69—203
Elizabeth Szokol 69-71-64—204
Linnea Strom 68-67-69—204
Pavarisa Yoktuan 68-71-66-205
Kristy McPherson 71-68-67—206
Karen Chung 69-70-67—206
Lindsey McCurdy 72-69-66—207
Krystal Quihuis 72-69-66—207
Linnea Johansson 70-70-67—207
Ssu-Chia Cheng 71-68-68—207
Elizabeth Nagel 68-70-69—207
Desiree Dubreuil 68-66-73—207