Jane Blalock, who likes to encourage herself with pep talks, talked herself into winning the LPGA Greater Baltimore Classic today at Pine Ridge with a closing 68 for a 10-under-par 209.
Three strokes back were Joyce Kazmierski, a nine-year veteran of the tour who has never won, and Takako Kiyomoto, a 37-year-old late-blooming Japanese pro who set a course record of 31 on the back nine after going out in 37. Beth Solomon, another tour nonwinner, finished fourth with 213.
Blalock started the day a stroke behind Silvia Bertolaccini. For a time, it was a duel between those two. Blalock was playing in front of Bertolaccini and had dropped four strokes behind after six holes. But things changed dramatically when Bertolaccini bogeyed the seventh hole after Blalock had birdied there. From then on it was all trouble for the Argentine golfer. She lost seven strokes to Blalock in six holes and finished tied for fifth.
Blalock, who said when gaining a share sharing the lead Thursday that she had never lost a tournament after being in front the first day, was true to form. This was her second victory this year. She won the Colgate Triple Crown to open the LPGA tour and finished second in the Women's International. Today's victory was worth 8,250. She has won a little more than $41,000 this year and is fifth on the money-winning list.
Blalock had two 34s for the day, with seven birdies and two bogeys. Bertolaccini eagled the first hole and Blalock birdied the next two. Bertolaccini increased her margin over Blalock to three strokes on four when she birdied after Blalock had bogeyed.
After the turn-around began on seven, Blalock pulled even on eight when she again got a birdie and Bertolaccini followed with another bogey. Blalock pulled away on the par-five ninth. She was off the green in two, chipped to within four feet and made the putt for a birdie. Bertolaccini was on the green in two but 70 feet away. She three-putted for a par and Blalock had a one-stroke lead she never surrendered.
Blalock almost had a hole in one on the 169-yard 14th when her six-iron shot stopped inches from the cup. But she said her pivotal hole was the 13th, a 377-yard par-four. "It was against the wind," she explained, "and I felt I had to make a par. A bogey would have changed my style of play."