NORTH PORT — That’s one hell of a way to start your pro career.
Alana Uriell, playing in her first professional tournament, eagled the first playoff hole to win the Symetra Tour SkyiGolf Championship at the Charlotte Harbor National Golf Club on Sunday.
Uriell shot a five-under-par 67, including a birdie on 18, to put herself in the playoff with Lauren Coughlin and Julieta Granada.
Uriell, who already earned her LPGA Tour Card by qualifying in Q School, won $37,500 for her efforts. She said she was all business this week.
“I’ve been nose to the grindstone, practicing hard and hoping it would be enough and truly it was,” Uriell said, who eschewed her senior season at the University of Arkansas to go pro.
In the playoff at 18, Uriell hit a six-iron from 184 yards to within 10 feet of the hole. After Coughlin’s eagle putt went short and Granada’s shot from the rough left of the green almost went in, Uriell hit her putt dead center to win.
“I was playing against two great players and was visualizing my shot. I was committed and I executed,” Uriell said.
While many of those on top of the leader board at the beginning of the day went sideways or faded, those just below combined to produce a great finish.
Uriell was consistent all day. She bogeyed the second hole, but immediately birdied 3 and 4, as well as 11, 12 and 14 to get into the hunt, finishing with the birdie on 18.
Granada also fired a five-under 67 in a bogey-free round, including birdies on 17 and 18 to join Coughlin in the clubhouse at 12-under.
Granada earned the playoff after hitting short on 18 and pitching it to within three feet of the hole.
“I hit the ball solid all day but I left a lot of birdies out there,” Granada said. “I hit themclose on 12, 13 and 14, and it hurts because I had a chance to pull away and didn’t.”
Coughlin was barely on the radar after 14, but caught fire down the stretch with birdies on 15 and 17 and an amazing eagle on 18 that put her at 12-under.
“I had 200 yards to the pin with a little help, a perfect five wood with a great lie,” Coughlin said.
“I executed the shot perfectly. I still can’t believe I hit it so good.”
The day began with four golfers tied for the lead. Neither of them figured in the end, however.
Alexa Pano, the 14-year-old amateur, who shared the lead after Saturday, never really got her game going and came in with a one-over 73.
Despite the ending, Pano said she was very pleased with her effort.
“It was tough but not the worst. I knew around the second or third hole I didn’t feel right and it continued throughout the day and it wasn’t something I could just fix,” Pano said.
“I was doing enough to get pars.”