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Jodi Ewart Shadoff has a new personal-best finish on the LPGA Tour thanks to a new club.
Disenchanted with a belly putter that grew ineffectual after two years, Ewart Shadoff switched to a traditional short putter a couple days before the start of the Marathon Classic. The difference was profound for the English woman.
PHOTO GALLERY: Marathon Classic fourth round
Playing a bogey-free final round, she finished tied for third at 13-under. She averaged almost five birdies per day, scored in the 60s every round, and twice limited her putt total to under 30.
"It has been a huge confidence booster for me," said Ewart Shadoff, who saved her best round, 66, for Sunday. "It was nice to finally see some putts drop."
Ewart Shadoff brought with her to Sylvania the belly putter, the one she used 36 times in a forgettable round last week in Canada where she finished tied for 41st at Manulife Financial. The club never made it to her golf bag at Highland Meadows.
LEWIS STORMS BACK: Stacy Lewis, who was headed after two rounds for another disappointing finish here, salvaged her stay with an excellent weekend. The Toledo native followed Saturday’s 2-under 69 with a bogey-free 7-under 64 to crack the top 10 for the first time in seven starts at Highland Meadows.
Lewis, who finished in a five-way tie for seventh, closed at 9-under.
"I was glad to give the Lew Crew something to cheer about," Lewis said of her throng of supporters who follow her from hole to hole wearing customized t-shirts.
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ACE: Lexi Thompson, other than witnessing the duel between Beatriz Recari and Paula Creamer, was having an uneventful round with 13 straight pars before a hole-in-one at No. 14.
“I made a pretty good run the last few holes with a hole-in-one and then a couple birdies,” said Thompson, who tied for third at 13-under. “It was just a little late for me. But the hole-in-one was the best feeling ever. It was amazing. I just went up the line high-fiving everyone.”
It was her first ace in LPGA competition and she became the second player to ace that hole during the tournament. Thompson said she hit less than a full 6-iron.
NEW TOUGHEST: They crowned two new champions Sunday. Recari, of course, won the tournament. And No. 11 won Highland Meadows’ toughest hole competition, something that has almost always gone statistically to No. 1.
The field posted a stroke average of 4.333 at the par-4 11th, a 391-yard hole. On Sunday, the hole surrendered just two birdies compared to 24 scores above par. There were 46 pars.
EAGLES ABOUND: Thompson’s ace was the only eagle during Sunday’s final round, but the Marathon Classic field delivered something of an oddity during the first three rounds. There were seven eagles scored on seven different holes.
In order of holes, Natalie Gulbis eagled No. 4, Sarah Jane Smith took care of No. 7, Laura Diaz handled No. 10, Katherine Hull-Kirk had the earlier hole-in-one at No. 14, Recari at No. 15, Pernilla Lindberg turned the trick at No. 17, and Eun-Hee Ji scored at No. 18.
The eagles by Gulbis, Diaz and Recari all came on par-4 holes while Hull-Kirk’s ace came on a par-3 hole.
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LOOK OUT: Morgan Pressel may have had a good excuse for her tumble down the leaderboard Sunday.
At dinner with her family a night earlier, she was smacked on the head by a tray of hot bacon.
Pressel said she was shaken but laughed when asked if the mishap led to her disappointing final round. Pressel opened Sunday six shots under par in 13th place but closed with a 4-over 75 to finish in a tie for 41st.
"I don't think [it did]," she said, before cracking, "Yes, I'm going to sue the restaurant."
Pressel would not budge with the name of the restaurant.
WEEKEND WARRIOR: Angela Stanford, who was 1-over after two rounds, finished tied for fifth at 10-under. Why the big weekend jump?
"I think I was still just tired from last week," said Stanford, who took second at Manulife Financial. "The combination of trying to catch up on rest and being hot, I just didn’t catch up."
Stanford, the runner-up a year ago, closed with 13 birdies in the final two rounds compared to two bogeys. Those statistics on Thursday and Friday, when she shot 71 and 72: Six birdies, seven bogeys.
WALSHE FALTERS: Tied for the lead after Friday, Alison Walshe plummeted to a share for 33rd.
The former University of Arizona star was 5-over on the weekend and started off poorly both days with a bogey/double-bogey on No. 1.
"Obviously it would have been exciting to be in there, but at the same time I’m not disappointed," Walshe said. "My game was good. It was just a matter of mistakes here and there."
Walshe paced the field after an opening round 6-under and was involved in a three-way tie after Friday.
— David Briggs and Dave Hackenberg contributed to this report