Talley wins Island title

Emma Talley kisses the championship trophy after winning the Island Resort Championship at Sawgrass Golf Club in Harris on Sunday. Talley finished with a rain-shortened tourney score of 9-under-par 135 to win by three strokes after Sunday's third round was called off. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Mike Mattson)

HARRIS — Emma Talley couldn’t wait to defend her lead Sunday in the rainy Island Resort Championship at Sweetgrass Golf Club.

Talley put together two solid rounds and had plenty of confidence entering the finale scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

But she never stepped foot on the course with her three-stroke lead as the tourney was officially called due to course conditions and bad weather.

“Everything has been clicking,” Talley said after earning the first-place check of $22,500 and speaking at the indoor awards ceremony. “I’ve been trying to be really calm and relaxed lately.

“I actually went to a sports psychologist four weeks ago for the first time ever. I really enjoyed it. I’ve been praying a lot lately about peace because I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself.

“(Sunday) morning I woke up and did my normal thing. I felt really good. I felt confident the whole week. I love this golf course. Everything has been clicking really well, so I was actually really excited about the day.”

Add Talley’s name to the list of champions for the seventh annual event. It didn’t matter that she didn’t get a chance to play Sunday from the front of the pack, instead beating the rain and the rest of the field for her first Symetra Tour victory in her second season.

Talley, the 2013 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, played 10 holes Sunday morning to finish Saturday’s round and relied on three birdies to finish 3-under par for her second round and 9-under overall. She notched her third straight top-10 finish and her sixth top-10 finish of the season.

“This is awesome, it’s definitely a dream come true,” said Talley, a 2015 NCAA champion for the University of Alabama who is a native of Princeton, Kentucky. “It feels like all of the work has finally been clicking and I’m really excited for the win.”

The second round resumed early Sunday morning and was completed with Talley owning a three-stroke advantage over Thailand’s Benyapa Niphatsophon and first-round leader Ruixin Liu of China.

Liu graduated high school in Orlando, Florida.

The 72 low scorers teed off to begin the final round at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, but the horn sounded to clear the course a 1:42 p.m. due to lightning in the area and more rain in the forecast. Shortly afterward, tournament officials announced the tournament would be called off and the results through the second round became official.

Talley carded a 6-under par 66 (birdies on holes 4-8-9-16-17-18) in Friday’s first round. She followed it up with a 3-under-par 69 (birdies on 1-3-5-9-11-16, bogeys on 2-13-17) in the second round and had the confidence to finish strong Sunday.

Niphatsophon scored 67-71–138 and Liu went 65-73–138 to finish tied for second place. Sara Banke (68-71–139) of California finished fourth, while Nanna Koerstz Madsen of Denmark and Rachel Rohanna of Pennsylvania tied for fifth at 140.

Carol Els, a sophomore for the Northern Michigan University golf team who joined Brooke Ferrell as special exemptions, withdrew late in the first round.