Gaby Lopez recovered from four shots down and finished with three straight birdies for an eight under 63 and a one-shot win at the Dana Open.
The Mexican finished her big run with a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18 at Highland Meadow on Sunday, unleashing a series of punches knowing she would hold her ahead of Megan Khang.
All that was left for the 28-year-old was to see if anyone could take her.
No one came particularly close and Lopez took his third career win on the LPGA Tour, and his first since the start of the 2020 season since the Tournament of Champions.
“I knew I had to do it because Megan was going to do hers,” Lopez said. “I’m training just for this moment. We did the job ”.
Khang, who shot 29 forward on a rain-softened course, finished with a 64.
Lucy Li, the 19-year-old Californian who started the final round with a one-shot lead, struggled to birdie.
His hopes were effectively dashed when he hit a fairway bunker on the 16th hole, played well under the green and missed a five-foot putt. He birdwatted them the 18th hole for a 70 and tied for the fourth.
The start of the final round had the atmosphere of a battle of wonders: Lexi Thompson qualified for the US Women’s Open in 2007 at age 12, then Li broke her record in 2014 to qualify to 11.
They were in the final group, along with Germany’s Caroline Masson, but in the end neither was really a determining factor.
Thompson finished with a 73 and equalized for 16th, seven shots behind.
Li had a birdie and par 14 when Lopez and Khang took over.
Masson birdwatted the last two holes for a 68 finishing alone in third place.
For Lopez, it was about not thinking too much about every shot, every result and putting her in a comfortable mood on a crazy day where she had 10 players ahead of her at the start.
“It will sound crazy, but today it felt more like a Friday round,” Lopez said. “Having that calm is what we worked on, and it paid off.”
He was two shots down and missed six-foot birdie chances in ninth and 11th, but never lost focus.
“Doubts come to mind,” Lopez said.
“But my caddy said, ‘Let’s keep doing what we’re doing. It sure works, and we will engage in the last hole and see what happens.
“If you keep it in the present, that’s where the magic happens.”