PITTSFORD – Gerina Piller struggled to the finish line Sunday in the final round of the Wegmans LPGA Championship with a round of 3-over 75.
But Piller still had plenty of reason to smile after her round at Monroe Golf Club. Her husband, Martin, was going after his first win on the Web.com Tour since the 2010 season.
“I didn’t know what he was doing, and I was definitely more nervous for him than I think I was for me,” Gerina Piller said. “I wouldn’t say it affected me, but I was just more concerned with him, because he’s worked so hard.”
As it turns out, there was no reason to worry. Martin Piller closed out his victory in the News Sentinel Open with a final round of 8-under 63. The victory moved him to No. 29 on the Web.com money list, well within striking distance of the top 25 who earn automatic PGA Tour cards for next season.
“Going into this year obviously he wasn’t guaranteed any tournaments, and for him to work his tail off and play his way back in, that’s just been awesome. I couldn’t be more proud,” Gerina Piller said.
Piller said she found out on the 15th tee that her husband had won.
“I lost it,” she said. “I’m like, ‘Don’t tell me now – I have to hit the ball.’ I started crying. Words can’t describe it. I just can’t wait to talk to him.”
The victory could cost Gerina Piller some money, though. She made a deal with Martin before the season that if he got a Web.com Tour win and regained exempt status on the PGA Tour, she’d buy him a truck.
“I do owe him a new truck,” she joked. “I mean, I could care less what I did today. I was just really wanting the best for him, and it just makes my heart smile.”
World No. 1 Stacy Lewis closed with a round of 4-under 68, the best of the day, to move into a tie for sixth place at 5-under 283.
“The last two days, I really played a lot better,” said Lewis, who was 5 under on the weekend. “More than anything I just wanted to play 16, 17 and 18 well. I kind of struggled on them all week, and it was just nice to finish off a good day.
Lewis closed at 1 under Sunday over the final three holes. Asked whether she thought she ran out of time, Lewis said, “I think I just got my act together a little bit. I’ve been struggling with my game and I’ve been trying to work on things.”
Lewis expressed confidence the LPGA Tour will find a way to return soon to the Rochester area. Sunday’s event ends a run of 38 straight years with a tournament in the Flower City.
“They’ve been so supportive for so long, and everybody is sad that we’re leaving, but I think we’ll be back here in a few years,” she said. “You know, these crowds today just show that we should be playing here, and I think we’ll be back.”
While Lewis closed strong, the same couldn’t be said of Suzann Pettersen, who entered the day in the final group with eventual runner-up Brittany Lincicome.
Pettersen, the world’s fourth-ranked player, opened with a double bogey on the way to a front-nine 41. She ended the day shooting 4-over 76, settling for a tie for sixth place.