Category - Member Events
Sandra Changkija Rallies to Win Third Consecutive PGA Women’s Stroke Play Championship
A thrilling final three holes elevated Sandra Changkija to victory in the 2023 PGA Women's Stroke Play Championship.
But the finish was not expected.
Changkija finished eagle-birdie-birdie to overcome a three-shot deficit with three holes to play for a one-stroke victory over Stephanie Connelly-Eiswerth of Fleming Island, Florida. Changkija shot 6-under-66 on the Wanamaker Course to finish at 6-under-209.
“It feels amazing to win three in a row,” said Changkija, a PGA Assistant Professional at ChampionsGate near Orlando. “I don’t really know what to say other than I hit really good golf shots.
Connelly-Eiswerth responded to Changkija’s brilliant second shot at No. 16 by hitting her third shot to five feet and made the putt to keep her lead at two. Then Changkija made her long putt at No. 17 to make it a one-shot deficit heading to the final hole.
“I three-putted two holes, but sure enough I made 60-footers on two par-3s, so that helped,” Changkija said. “After 17, I just knew I had to play 18 well.”
Connelly-Eiswerth (72-210) started the final round with a three-shot lead over Allie Knight and maintained that advantage through 15 holes. But she was in between clubs at the 18th and failed to get up-and-down from behind the green.
Loretta Giovannettone of Jupiter, Florida, finished tied for third with Knight to earn a spot in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship June 21-25 at Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey. Giovannettone shot 1-under-71 to finish at 216 and edge Meaghan Francella (70-217). Giovannettone made a 6-foot par putt at the 18th hole after her drive almost went into the water.
“It feels really good,” said Giovannettone, a 31-year-old PGA Assistant Professional at the Country Club of Florida. “That’s my goal when I play in this tournament every year. From the tee, I couldn’t tell if I was in the water or not. It was closer than I wanted it to be. I was proud to make that 6-foot putt.”
Changkija, Connelly-Eiswerth, Knight, Joanna Coe and Samantha Morrell already had qualified for the KPMG through their finishes in the LPGA Teaching & Club Professional Championship.
Lisa Grimes from Arizona defended her title in the Senior Division, shooting 1-over-73 to win by 12 shots at 4-under-211.
The PGA Winter Championships are presented by GolfPass and On Location.