Popson rallies to win Symetra Classic

Erica Popson (Symetra Tour/ Mark Walters)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Erica Popson won the Symetra Classic on Sunday for her first Symetra Tour title, rallying for a two-stroke victory.

The 25-year-old former Tennessee player made a 6-foot birdie putt on the par-4 17th and parred the par-3 18th for a 2-under 70 and an 8-under 208 total at Raintree Country Club.

“I feel like I’ve been playing some good golf this year and putting myself up there, and kind of tanking, to be honest, on the last day,” Popson said.“

She earned $22,500 to jump from 45th to fourth on the money list with $27,946. The final top 10 will earn LPGA Tour cards for next season.

“I’ve been struggling for a long time,” Popson said. “To have something like this is, it’s unreal and definitely a big confidence-booster going forward.”

She birdied Nos. 3 and 6, bogeyed No. 9 and made seven straight pars before the birdie on 17.

“I hit a couple of bad wedges,” Popson said. “I chunked one on 9 and then I chunked another one on 10, both with wedges. I just kept telling myself, ‘Let’s write the good story this week and see what happens.’ I just come out with no expectations today. ‘Play the best I can and worry about me and see what happens.’ And it turned out pretty good.”

Second-round leader Kendall Dye tied for second with Jenni Jenq and Australia’s Emma de Groot.

A day after shooting a tournament-record 65, Dye birdied two of the last three holes for a 76. She birdied the par-5 fourth to reach 11 under, then played the next 11 holes in 7 over with two double bogeys and three bogeys.

Jenq shot a 68, and de Groot closed with a bogey for a 71.

Three Canadians tied for 5th spot. Augusta James of Bath, Ont. (76), Ann-Catherine Tanguay of Quebec City (71) and Sara Maude Juneau of Fossambault-sur-le-Lac, Que., all finished at 5 under.

Money leader Madelene Sagstrom missed the cut after winning two of the first five events of the season. The Swede has earned $93,714 to join Cindy LaCrosse ($94,578 in 2010) and Vicky Hurst ($93,107 in 2008) as the only players in tour history to top $90,000 in a season.