Bailey Tardy smashes Blue Bay LPGA scoring record for first win

Bailey Tardy fired a final round 7-under 65, earning her first victory on the LPGA Tour at Jian Lake Blue Bay Golf Course in China. She became the first American to win the Blue Bay LPGA title, which she did in record-breaking style.

Her 19-under 269 marked the lowest 72-hole score in the history of the event. Tardy smashed Minjee Lee’s 13-under record, which she set in 2016.

The former Georgia Bulldog posted a 68-70-66-65 to beat Sarah Schmelzel by four shots.

She had to fight off quite a few strong players, including Lydia Ko, to earn this victory.

“A lot of emotions right now. A lot of hard work and just a lot of doubt that was in my head that I could be at this level and win. This is special,” Tardy said. “My ball striking was pretty good all day long, and I made a lot of really good approach shots on the back nine, so I think that really put me in a position to score the way I did today.”

On Sunday, Tardy recorded six birdies, an eagle, and one bogey. She started her round with seven pars. Then, she gained momentum when she made an incredible 51-foot eagle putt on the par-5 8th.

“I got off to a slow start on the front nine and stayed patient out there. I can’t say that I woke up today knowing I was going to shoot 65 or knowing I needed to go that low to win,” Tardy said.

“The leaderboard was stacked, and the conditions were windy. I’m just proud of myself and how I handled myself.”

Her lone bogey came on the 10th, but it didn’t phase her, as she made five birdies in her final eight holes.

This victory is her first since the 2021 Copper Rock Championship on the Epson Tour. She had to fight to get her LPGA Tour card after foregoing her senior year at Georgia to turn pro in 2019. The 27-year-old played on the Epson Tour until 2022, when things finally paid off for her.

Tardy finished second at the LPGA Q-Series in 2022 to gain membership. She capped off her rookie season at Pebble Beach Golf Links by finishing tied for fourth at the U.S. Women’s Open.

However, she doubted a win on the LGPA Tour would come to fruition.

“It was a lot of self-reflecting trying to figure out if I was even good enough to be on the LPGA, if I wanted it enough,” Tardy explained. “The life on the road is not for everybody, and so I just didn’t know if this was the profession for me. Now that I’m an LPGA winner, I’m so happy I stuck to it. This is a dream come true.”

Tardy became the second American to win this season on the LPGA Tour after Nelly Korda won the LPGA Drive On Championship. She is also the third player to earn her first Tour victory at the Blue Bay LPGA, joining Lee-Anne Pace in 2014 and Gaby Lopez in 2018.

Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. For more golf coverage, be sure to follow us @_PlayingThrough on all major social platforms. You can also follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports.

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