Entering the final day of the Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning and O-I, Karine Icher took a certain mentality regarding her final 18 holes at Highland Meadows Golf Club.
Knowing where she sat on the leaderboard entering the weekend, Icher didn’t go out of her way to put pressure upon herself through the final two rounds.
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That psychology worked, especially on Sunday. The French golfer completed the final round by shooting an 8-under-par 63.
“The goal is to go out and make the most birdies that you can,” said Icher, who began the final day of the tournament in a five-way tie for 62nd. “For sure, it’s another story when you lead or when you’re in the final group or close to the lead, and you want to shoot minus-8. It happens. It’s more difficult to do that, than when you’re so far back and it’s easier to shoot that low because you have no pressure. The only thing you want to do is just have fun and make a lot of birdies and make putts. And if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.”
Icher finished in a three-way tie for 15th at 8-under 71 for the weekend (276) and registered the lowest score of the day in the final round. Tournament champion Lydia Ko and Pernilla Lindberg each shot a 65 and Julieta Granada shot a 66.
“It’s funny because this course never suited my game, really,” Granada said. “But this year, I think I’m starting to figure it out. I putted well today and hit lots of greens. I kept giving myself chances on every hole.”
Icher had three bogeys and one birdie in the first round Thursday, one bogey and five birdies in the second round Friday, which helped her make the cut; and one birdie, two bogeys, and a double bogey in Saturday’s third round.
It likely couldn’t get any worse than that for Icher, who had a strong turnaround on Sunday.
“It was quick, simple, fast, and I had good tee shots and good driving, and it’s a little bit easier to approach the green,” Icher said. “And I had really good putting, and that makes it easier to get a good score. You have no pressure. You know that if you do well, you’re going to grab some spots on the rankings. But if you don’t, you’re already there. Hey, it can be worse.”
On Sunday, Icher notched eight birdies, including three on the final three holes on the par-71 course.
“I liked the finish, 16, 17, and 18,” she said. “Especially with the par at the end, you know you can do it birdie-birdie-birdie. That’s what I did. But I hate No. 3. I hate it, especially the tee shot. I miss it. For a second and third round, I missed all of them but today I made it, so I thought, okay, maybe this is a good sign.”
In fact, Icher said she had perfect conditions when she reached the course Sunday morning, even after the final round of the tournament was delayed for more than an hour because of fog.
“We’re used to it,” Icher said. “We knew that it might be so long, at the most an hour, so I took a second breakfast. It was a little bit more rest, to be ready for the final day. But we’ve had a few delays, and sometimes it’s worse than that.”