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Cashman Cashes In in Tampa Bay

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Futures TourTAMPA, Fla. -- Colleen Cashman of Plantation, Fla., shot a 71 (-1) for a 209 (-7) to become the third first-time winner of the season at the inaugural Tampa Bay's Next Generation Futures Golf Classic in Tampa, Fla. Cashman won by one shot over Kristen Bloomer, formerly Samp, of Moberly, Mo., who fired a three-under-par 69 at Rogers Park Golf Course. Second round co-leader and non-exempt LPGA Tour player Liz Earley of St. Catharines, Ontario, finished in third at 212 (-4).
 
Cashman headed into today's final round tied for the lead with Earley at 138 (-6). Bloomer, who was 141 (-3) after 36-holes, shot up to 7-under for tournament with birdies on one, two, six, and seven. She bogeyed nine, but maintained a one-shot lead over Cashman through nine holes, who was playing one group behind. Cashman's front nine consisted of a double-bogeyed five and a 25-foot birdie putt from the fringe on six.
 
'I hit my tee shots out of bounds on five,' stated Cashman. 'That double-bogey hurt, but I knew I had a lot of holes left to play. I wanted to hit the ball as close to the pin as possible and set myself up for some good putts.'
 
Both Cashman and Bloomer bogeyed 10, but the lead changed hands on the par three 178-yard 12th hole. Bloomer bogeyed and Cashman made a 15-foot birdie putt to go to 5-under, one shot a head of her opponent.
 
Cashman followed up with two more birdies on 14 and 15, elevating her to 7-under-par. However, Bloomer did not give up that easily. She birdied 14, bogeyed 16, and eagled 18 to come within a shot of the lead at 6-under. Cashman two-putted for par from 10 feet on number 18 and finished at 209 (-7).
 
'I heard the crowd cheering when I was in the 18th fairway, but I wasn't sure what was happening,' noted Cashman, in reference to Bloomer's eagle putt. 'When I got up to the green to make my putt, I looked at the leaderboard and knew I had to at least par this hole.
 
'My goal was to hit the ball decent, make pars, make birdies, and eliminate bogeys. I also wanted to play my own game and not worry about how anyone else was doing on the course. I needed to play my own game. What a feeling.'
 
Earley recorded two bogeys, one double-bogey, and an eagle on the final hole for a 74 (+2). Her hit her 5-iron from 176 yards to eight feet and she made the putt to finish in third at 212 (-4).
 
Earley stated, 'I did not play as well as I did yesterday. I wasn't hitting the ball as close to the pin as I wanted to. I had a lot of 30-footers instead of 12-footers, but I'm happy I was able to finish strong.'
 
Suzy Whaley of Farmington, Conn., shot a 74 (+2) and finished tied for 33rd with a 221 (+5). Her round was made up of four birdies and six bogeys.
 
At the 2001 LPGA Sectional Qualifying Tournament in Venice, Fla., Cashman hit her drive on the 17th tee and as she was walking back to her golf cart, she was struck by lightning. The odds of this happening are 1 in 600,000.
 
'I heard a deafening roar and then felt electricity going right through my body,' commented Cashman. 'Everything went blurry, I got a headache, and felt my right arm shaking, like a seizure. I thought I got struck by lighting, but I wasn't sure. I don't even remember driving back to the clubhouse.'
 
The ambulance was called and Cashman was examined immediately. Her prognosis was positive and she competed in the tournament, but missed the cut. For four months after the ordeal, her entire body and brain were tested for any side effects that could have occurred.
 
Cashman stated, 'I was having a lot of headaches, similar to a migraine, but worse. I was wearing metal sunglasses, which acted as a conductor to my brain. The doctors wanted to be cautious.'
 
Despite the experience, Cashman has remained on the golf course. Even getting struck by lightning can not keep her away from her passion.
 
'My heart pounds every time I see a lightning bolt,' Cashman noted. 'I am always looking around to see if bad weather is rolling in. I have a sort of anxiety attack that I can't control, but it is getting a lot better.'
 
A year-and-a-half later, under beautiful and sunny skies, Cashman was able to earn her first FUTURES Tour victory and collect the $9,100 first-place check. She was able to share that experience with her husband-to-be, Dave McSween, and the couple will be married in December. Things keep getting brighter for Cashman.