Laura Diaz earns third in Senior LPGA Championship

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This summer, Scotia’s Laura Diaz has made some big moves, both on and off the course. 

Laura Diaz’s 2-under on Sunday — featuring an eagle and two birdies — capped off a solid three days of golf (67-72-70 [209]) to earn third place in the 2022 Senior LPGA Championship in Salina, Kansas.

“The Legends tournaments are a little bit lighter,” said the Scotia native who is now playing on the Legends of the LPGA tour for golfers 45 and older. “But having Karri (Webb) and Annika (Sörenstam) play … the competitive spirit went up a notch.”

“We’ve all had our intense times playing on the LPGA tour and we’re all at different stages of our life now. We aren’t playing as much,” said the two-time LPGA winner and Solheim Cup star.  

Diaz spends most of her golf opportunities playing golf with her family, especially her son, Cooper, 16. Her daughter Lily, 12, calls herself a basketball player but also has “an amazing golf swing,” Diaz said. The family last month completed a move from North Carolina to TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, southeast of Jacksonville. Her husband Kevin Diaz, who caddied for her at the Legends championship, has started a new job working for the PGA Tour. 

“I trained by packing and lifting boxes,” she joked, adding that she stays fit with alternating Peloton workouts of running and biking. 

At Salina, where significant crowds turned out in support of the LPGA veterans, Webb earned her first victory on the Legends Tour, defeating Annika Sörenstam by four strokes. Webb finished the week 14-under. Diaz’s 2-under final round put her in solo third at 7-under. Diaz recorded an eagle to accompany two birdies.

“I wanted it to be always trying to be aggressive and committed to each shot I hit,” Diaz said when asked the key to her success. “You don’t really focus on the leaderboard because you can’t control the leaderboard.”

The event was a family affair as they were joined by Laura’s brother Ron Philo Jr. and her sister-in-law Susan Bond Philo, who placed 41st with rounds of 73-76-78 (227). The Philos live in Indiana with Ron Philo working as general manager of the Dormie Network’s Victoria National Golf Club. Susan Philo works for PGA Magazine and as a golf teaching professional. 

State Junior Amateur Championship

Jillian Rawson of Albany Academy carded a plus-3 74 Tuesday to lead area girls at the two-day state Junior Amateur Golf Championship at Soaring Eagles in Horseheads. She is tied for fifth place in the 18-under single-division championship. Jeff Fumarola of Ballston Spa had a plus-four 75 in the under-14 division and leads area boys. He is in seventh place.  

The field includes: Ryan Arp (Greenville), Charlie Blake (Saratoga Springs), Zachary Bruno (Queensbury), Kieran Cummins (Loudonville), Kellen Dean (Saratoga Springs), Connor DesJardins (Niskayuna), Brayden Dock (Queensbury), Timmy Esmay (Albany), Jeff Fumarola (Ballston Spa), Maria Jackson (Ballston Spa), Sophia Jackson (Ballston Spa), Jimmy King (Niskayuna), Hayden Knapp (Gansevoort), Matthew McClenon (Niskayuna), Jayden Pabon (Ballston Spa), Jillian Rawson (Slingerlands), Trey Smith (Greenville), Samantha Van Rohr (Loudonville) and Zorah Williams (Troy). For results, go to the NYSGA website https://nysga.org/championships-schedule

Golf benefits 


• Friends of Wendy O’Connor are organizing a fundraiser and celebration of life at Schenectady Muni on Aug. 12. The former Niskayuna physical education teacher and coach was a dedicated athletic booster for the school. Entry fee is $125 per person and includes golf, cart, lunch at the turn and a buffet. For more information, text Jacquie at 518-573-5480.

• The PGA’s signature benefit organization — Folds of Honor —  provides scholarships for children or dependents of veterans who gave their lives or became disabled as a result of their service. I was fortunate to watch a presentation at the PGA Show highlighting the achievements of this organization. It brought those in the room to tears. Pinehaven will hold its Folds of Honor Golf Marathon on Aug. 8. Head pro Brian Pierotti and assistant pros Tom Mattice and Andrew Kemp will be competing in the marathon with several members. Donations can be made either per hole or in one flat pledge. To pledge, contact the Pro Shop at 518-456-7111.

[email protected] • @joyceb10bassett • timesunion.com/author/joyce-bassett

 

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