It was an outcome few might have foreseen at the outset of the week, but the team of Jasmine Suwannapura and Cydney Clanton won the inaugural Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational with ease on Saturday.
They began the final round at Midland Country Club in Midland, Mich., five shots ahead of the formidable Jutanugarn sisters, Ariya and Moriya, and shot an 11-under-par 59 in the better-ball format to win by six.
Jin Young Ko and Minjee Lee finished second with the Jutanugarns and Na Yeon Choi and Jenny Shin tying for third, seven shots back.
Suwannapura, a Thai native, entered the event 106th in the Rolex Rankings, and her American partner was 269th. Suwannapura, at least, had one previous victory on the LPGA, in the Marathon Classic in 2018, but Clanton had not finished better than a tie for seventh in an LPGA career that began in 2012. However, she won the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout in April, her second Symetra Tour victory.
“I couldn’t even dream up to have won a Symetra event earlier this year and then to come out and win with Jasmine,” Clanton said. “It's so funny. This is the tournament that I wanted to come and play in. I was like, team event, I'm in, let's go.
“So I'm blessed for the opportunity. I'm blessed that Jasmine let me come play with her. She played great golf all week and we just kind of meshed after yesterday. We just felt really good after yesterday.”
Clanton had been playing mostly on the Symetra Tour this year, but the victory allows her to return to the LPGA. She now has earned exemptions into the next two LPGA events, both majors: The Evian Championship and the Women’s British Open. Suwannapura already was entered in both.