Santiwiwatthanaphong wins Island Resort and Casino Championship

HARRIS — The Road to the LPGA begins on the Symetra Tour and Saturday, some of the best young golfers from around the world came to Harris for the Island Resort and Casino Championship at the Sweetgrass Golf Course.

The final day was delayed due to heavy storms but a nice crowd gathered at the 18th hole. Peiyun Chien from China was in the thick of things until she bogeyed at 16 and 17. She would birdie at 18 but it was only good enough for a second place tie at four under par.

The tour’s leading money–earner Madeline Sagstrom from Sweden had some work to do as well if she wanted to grab the lead. She would birdie at 18, to finish at four under par which also put her in a tie for second.

But the day belonged to 19–year–old Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong from Thailand. She would birdie three holes on the front nine to set up a nice lead, and at six under par, she would be the 2016 Island Resort and Casino Champion.

“I played very well and my putting helped me a lot. I made a long putt on number 10. Everything was good today. I feel like my dreams came true,” said Santiwiwatthanaphong.

“These girls are top–notch. They’re the best there is and they’re just one step away from the LPGA. They are here to play for us. They play their heart out. They’re wonderful. They do so many things for our surrounding community and children. It’s just amazing,” championship co-chair Susan Harris said.

“It’s been so nice to be local and just stick around. I’ve met a lot of Swedish people and heritage right here so it’s super exciting. I’ve heard of a lot of Swedish hometowns. It’s really nice for everybody. We had a pretty good crew out there watching us today, so it was fun for the community to come out. I’m happy that they enjoy having us here because we really feel welcome and everybody put in a lot of effort for us so we’re really excited,” said Sagstrom.

Santiwiwatthanaphong earned a first–place check of $18,750.