SYRACUSE In five years and more than 40 attempts, Veronica Silibert had never tasted victory on the Symetra Tour.
But all of that changed in the Credit Union Classic at Drumlins Country Club's East Course, where Silibert moved into contention right from the start and then saved her best golf for the closing stretch to earn a three-stroke victory, $15,000 and better odds to reach the LPGA Tour in 2015.
The 29-year-old Venezuela native made her first Symetra Tour Victory a spectacular one, but the outcome was not clear until late in Sunday's final round, when Filibert birdied 15, 17 and 18 to break things open.
With four holes to play, Filibert, three under par for the day and nine under par overall, was tied with American Garrett Phillips, playing one group in front of her.
On the tough uphill par-four 15th, Filibert struck an approach close and made birdie, but at the downhill par-three 16th, Phillips answered with a birdie of her own, and both stood at 10 under.
Moving to the short par-four 17th, Phillips made par. Then Filibert hit an approach far from the pin, but her long birdie putt found the cup, and she reclaimed the lead, this time for good.
Knowing that she needed to answer again, Phillips instead made a double bogey on the final hole, leaving her at 205, eight under par, in a tie for third with Numa Gulyanamitta and Calle Nielson.
Now it was Lindy Duncan sitting as the leader in the clubhouse. Following rounds of 70 and 68, Duncan, a Duke University graduate, put up a bogey-free, five-under-par 66 in the final round, and posted nine-under-par 204.
At 11 under following her clutch birdie on 17, Filibert simply needed a bogey five on the 18th hole to win. But she fared far better, driving straight in the middle of the fairway and hitting a nine-iron approach to three feet for a closing birdie to clinch it.