SANDWICH, Mass – You know when the winning team of a golf tournament is determined when it comes down to the last putt, there’s excitement and drama with lots of fist-pumping, high-fives and hugs.
Well, and that’s exactly what happened on a picture-postcard-perfect type of day on Cape Cod at The Ridge Club in Sandwich with LPGA Legend’s Tour team of Jan Stephenson and Laura Diaz.
When the final 18-foot putt from the team of Laura Davies and Trish Johnson scurted the corner of the cup on No. 18 green at The Ridge Club, Stephenson and Diaz celebrated their first BJ’s Charity Championship together.
It was a thrilling victory for the unlikely pair, who teamed up in the best-ball scramble format to shoot an impressive 13-under par (58) and earn the $35,000 first place check.
When Laura Diaz, 46, got the call from World Golf Hall of Famer Jan Stephenson, 69, to partner with her in the BJ’s Charity Championship, she responded without hesitation.
“I said ‘absolutely,’” said Diaz in her victory speech. “It’s a great honor to be able to play with a Hall of Famer. I was thrilled that she thought of me.”
Stephenson and Diaz had never teamed up before, nor had they ever been paired together on the LPGA Tour, but they settled into a rhythm quickly at the BJ’s Charity Championship, registering seven birdies on the front nine and six on the back to finish 13-under par.
Laura Davies and Trish Johnson needed to make an 18-foot eagle putt on the last hole to force a playoff, and finished one shot back, at 12-under.
“Everything clicked,” said Diaz, who picked up her first win on the Legends of the LPGA. “Jan and I made a really great team. We got off to a great start hitting it close on the first hole and then just kept making putts from there.”
The 2021 BJ’s Charity Championship featured 24 Legends of the LPGA in a two-person scramble format at The Ridge Club in Sandwich, Mass. Diaz and Stephenson were in the opening group that teed off at 9:00 a.m. and paired with LPGA Legends Tour executive and host Jane Blalock, Portsmouth, N.H. and Patricia Meunier-Lebouc, Dijon, France. The Legends of the LPGA is the official senior tour of the LPGA showcasing golfers age 45 and over.
“Laura was so positive right from the start,” said Stephenson, now a four-time winner on the LPGA Legends Tour. “She said to me, ‘We’ve got this. We’ve got the best pairing. We’re going to post a score and we’re going to win.’”
The duo led by three at the turn and were threatened late in the round by 2018 champions Johnson and Davies who were playing in the second to the last pairing. Diaz and Stephenson posted 13-under and watched as Davies and Johnson dropped birdies on Hole No. 15 and 17 to creep to within two shots heading into the par 5 18th.
“They made our hearts beat a little at the end there,” said a smiling Diaz.
After using Davies massive 260-yard drive on No. 18, Johnson hit her second shot to 18-feet for an eagle chance but neither she nor Davies could convert. It would have forced a playoff for hundreds of golf fans that turned out to the perfectly-manicured Ridge Club course, many in awe of how well the ladies still hit the ball.
The team of Elaine Crosby of Jackson, Michigan and Cathy Johnston-Forbes of Kitty Hawk, N.C. finished third at 10-under par. Annika Sorenstam, who most recently captured the 2021 U.S. Senior Women’s Open title at Brooklawn, finished T-7 with playing partner Suzy Whaley.
Nancy Lopez and Val Skinner finished at 2-under par (69) T-11 with HyannisPort Club member Pat Bradley and Wendy Ward.
For the win, Diaz and Stephenson each earned $17,500 and the hardware – but they’re celebrating this trip to the winner’s circle a little differently.
“I’m going home to my babies,” said Diaz, a mother of two.
“Well, I’m hitting the bar with everyone here,” laughed Stephenson. “So, I’ll take care of the hosting duties.”
A great day for golf and golf fans in the Bay State; for the LPGA Legends Tour and for Jan Stephenson and Laura Diaz!