Playing in her third Futures Tour tournament this year, 2 hours from her home in Enid, Okla., the former University of Tulsa star took her three-shot lead into Sunday and walked away as the winner by four strokes with rounds of 69-69-69 for her first professional title at 9-under 207. Prammanasudh never trailed on Sunday and held as much as a six-shot lead after seven holes on the 6,260-yard, par-72 tract at Willowbend Golf Club.
Seol-An Jeon of Seoul, Korea and former LPGA Tour player Lisa Hall of Stoke-on-Trent, England, tied for second at 211 (-5), both firing final-round scores of 69. Canadian Isabelle Beisiegel, now of Norman, Okla., finished fourth at 212 (-4).
'It's been a while since I won the 2002 WAC Championship my senior year at Tulsa and it feels especially good to win again so close to home,' said Prammanasudh, who was a four-time All-American while playing for Tulsa in the Western Athletic Conference. 'I know my capabilities and the way I can play. There's no reason why I can't win on this level.'
Prammanasudh, the daughter of a Thai father who works as a factory machinist and a mother who heads a department at K-Mart in Enid, grew up playing golf on the municipal level. As a junior, she couldn't afford to travel the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) junior circuit, so she played where she could locally and regionally and qualified for national events. But it was her work ethic and straight-A academics that caught the eye of longtime Tulsa coach Dale McNamara.
'When you fight and work for something like Stacy has, it's inevitable that she's going to succeed,' said her former coach, who is now retired. 'She's made the most of every opportunity she's had, much like another great Tulsa player - Nancy Lopez. She's just a very special player, a very special person.'
Prammanasudh (pronounced pro-mon-na-sude) missed her exempt LPGA status by one stroke in last year's LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament. But instead of wallowing in what could have been, the non-exempt LPGA player turned her attention to what she now wants: a top-five position on the FUTURES Tour Money List that will reward her with automatic exempt LPGA Tour status for 2004. She took a step closer to achieving that goal this week by moving to the top of the Tour's money list at $14,891 after three events. Her win in the $70,000 Wichita tournament was worth $9,800.
'I couldn't catch her,' added Soo Young Moon of Keumsan, Korea, who started the day three shots off the lead in a tie for second with Beisiegel. Moon finished tied for fifth at 213 (-3) with Erika Wicoff of Hartford City, Ind.
Prammanasudh's 'Steady Betty' style of play and experience in wind was apparent when she one-putted the first six greens and birdied four of her first six holes, including her two opening holes. With a comfortable lead heading to the back nine, fianc Pete Upton, carrying her bag, advised her to play smart and let the field take the chances.
'I told her to hit to the middle of the greens,' said Upton, a former club professional. 'I could see that others were shooting at the pins and I told her we'd let them try to catch her.'
But catch her, they couldn't. And Prammanasudh's cruise control, with pars on her final 10 holes, 28 putts and 13 greens hit for the round, was good enough for her inaugural professional victory.
'She was all business out there,' said Upton. 'And she was solid all three days. If she made a mistake, she picked right back up on the next hole with a birdie. Stacy knows where she wants to go.'
She even knew that she wanted her last putt on the final hole in the cup as soon as possible. There was no experienced winner's formality in her final stroke - no marking of the ball to wait for the players in her pairing to putt out before dropping in her final putt and no raised arms or fist pumps in victory. Prammanasudh simply stroked the ball to the hole, picked it out of the cup and headed to the scorer's table.
No mugging for the cameras. No victory leaps into the lake. Just Stacy P., making her name one to remember in Wichita.