SOMIS, Calif. - Never say never. Eleven years and 246 starts later, Jodi Ewart Shadoff is finally an LPGA Tour champion. Ewart Shadoff won the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship, conquering The Saticoy Club with a 15-under 273 score, a new tournament record. She becomes the season’s 10th Rolex First-Time Winner, which ties for the second-most first-time victors in a year. Ewart Shadoff is the 11th different champion from England to win on Tour and is the second-consecutive English winner following Charley Hull at The Ascendant benefiting Volunteers of America last week.
“I don't think it's really sunk in yet. I've waited a long time for this,” said Ewart Shadoff. “It's been many times in my career that I didn't think this was ever going to happen, so just really grateful in this moment.”
Though she started Sunday with a four-shot lead, it wasn’t a walk in the park for the 34-year-old. Ewart Shadoff’s lead quickly evaporated as she bogeyed No. 3 and was tied with playing partner Paula Reto by the seventh hole at -13. Reto and Ewart Shadoff traded birdies on No. 8, but the Englishwoman’s bogey on 9 left her one-stroke back of Reto at the turn. Ewart Shadoff went on to notch crucial birdies on Nos. 12 and 14 as Reto faltered down the stretch. The South African bogeyed two of her final three holes and slid down the leaderboard as Ewart Shadoff held on for her wire-to-wire victory.
“I learned that I could fight through adversity. I can play under the nerves, which it's been kind of a problem for me in the past, is just trying to settle the nerves down and play through it,” said Ewart Shadoff, who ultimately finished the day with a one-under 71. “I think I proved to myself that I can do it. I proved I can win. It's been a long time, and like I could, I didn't think I would ever be sat here honestly. Just really grateful.”
Yuka Saso earned her season-best finish of solo second in Somis, Calif. and her best result since her win at the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open. Saso carded a 6-under 66 on Sunday that included two bogeys, an eagle on No. 8 and six birdies, with four carded in her final five holes to finish at -14.
“I played pretty consistent like I did yesterday. Tee shot was pretty consistent too. I made some putts. I gave myself a chance. Yeah, I think I just played really consistent,” said Saso. “I think trying to be patient with everything and trying to have fun. I think that's what I'm going to take from this week.”
Reto finished in a tie for third with major champions Georgia Hall and Danielle Kang. Hall recorded a bogey-free 7-under 65 that included four-straight birdies from Nos. 14-17. Kang, a SoCal native, earned her second top-3 finish in her last three starts. Kang started with a bogey on No. 1 but rebounded quickly with a birdie on the next hole and carded three more, with an eagle on No. 8, among a hometown crowd supporting her the whole way.
“I thrive off the gallery, so I love when people cheer and come out and watch and have that momentum and that vibe. So hopefully this encourages people to come out and know that it's really fun to watch. I had as much fun as other people did outside,” said Kang. “There is some really good golf being played out there today, and I'm a little bit bummed on the fact that I didn't give myself enough birdie chances coming in, but I did the best that I could.”
Andrea Lee finished in solo sixth at -12, with Sei Young Kim finishing in seventh for her first top-10 result since a tie for ninth at the CP Women’s Open. Five players tied for eighth at -10, including two-time 2022 winner Atthaya Thitikul and Lauren Coughlin, who earned a new career-best finish.
“I've been really close this year and I kind of let the moment get to me at times, but today I was just was very calm all morning, and so I kind of figured it was going to be a good day and it was,” said Coughlin. “I mean, a big goal obviously would be CME, but for sure top 80 just so I can get into Chevron. I haven't played Chevron before, so be nice to have that locked up.”