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Knight, Szokol hang on to win Great Lakes Bay LPGA team event

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Washington: Cheyenne Knight and Elizabeth Szokol combined for a five-under par 65 in the four-ball final round on Saturday to edge Matilda Castren and Kelly Tan by one stroke in the Great Lakes Bay Invitational LPGA team event.

Knight and Szokol finished with a 23-under par total that included a 61 in four-balls on Thursday and a 62 in foursomes on Friday that had given them a three-shot lead going into the final round.

Finland's Castren and Malaysia's Tan closed with a 63 to finish second for the second year in a row.

After all four players in the final group reached the green at the par-three 18th and three had settled for par, Castren had a final chance to force a playoff but her birdie attempt from outside 20 feet brushed past on the right.

That signalled the celebrations for Knight and Szokol, teaming together for the third time in the event. Knight captured her second LPGA title while Szokol earned her first.

"There was a lot of pressure," Szokol said. "Starting the day with the three-shot lead was a great thing, but everyone was chasing us.

"In this format there are a lot of birdies, and Matilda and Kelly were playing great and started off really well. So it was definitely some pressure there.

"Cheyenne made some amazing putts coming in. I feel like we just were chatting down the fairways the whole day and trying to keep it light. It was great to have her by my side for the win."

Knight and Szokol were two shots up on Castren and Tan at the 13th hole when a weather delay halted play for almost two hours.

When they returned, Castren made a birdie putt at 13 and after Tan's birdie at 14 they were level.

Szokol birdied 15 to restore her team's lead and both teams birdied 17 as the Americans held on.

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- 'Pure joy' -

Szokol said Knight's six-foot birdie putt at the 17th was the "shot of the day," keeping them in front after Castren had rolled in her own 15-foot birdie putt.

Knight said the feeling when Castren's final attempt failed to fall was just "pure joy."

"You're expecting Matilda to make that putt, and when it slid by the edge, it was just, like, whoa, we did it," she said.

Tan and Castren said they had plenty of positives to take away as the tour heads to Europe and the next major of the season, the Evian Championship.

"I think we both played great," Tan said. "We have good synergy on the course together. If I'm down, she picked me up, or if she was down, I picked her up every day.

"Right now it sucks. I think when I wake up tomorrow morning, I will cherish the moments that we've been through the last few days, and I can only choose to take on the positives."

Castren was also pleased with their performance despite coming up short.

"I think we can both be really happy how we played under the pressure," she said. "There's a lot of pressure playing for a win, so we performed."

Three teams shared third place on 20-under: Celine Boutier and Yuka Saso, Jodi Ewart-Shadoff and Emma Talley and Celine Borge and Polly Mack.


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