After 72 holes in Shiga, Japan, Scotland’s own Gemma Dryburgh flourished at Seta Golf Course, posting a second-straight 65 to earn her first LPGA Tour title at the TOTO Japan Classic, finishing at -20 overall. Dryburgh becomes the 11th Rolex First-Time Winner of the season, tying the Tour record for most Rolex First-Time Winners in a singular year, which last occurred in 1995. Her 268 is a new career-best 72-hole score, shattering her previous record, a 276 from the 2019 Pure Silk Championship.
“I was in Korea last week with friends and I said to them ‘I mention you in my speech’ as a joke. But it’s overwhelming to be honest,” said Dryburgh, who becomes the fourth Scot to win on Tour and the first since Catriona Matthew at the 2011 Lorena Ochoa Invitational. “This has been a dream of mine for a long time. A lot of hard work has gone into this, so it means so much.”
Starting the final day one shot behind 54-hole leader Momoko Ueda, Gemma notched her first birdie of the day after making a 20-foot putt on No. 4, and added her second on No. 7 after putting it to three feet on the green. She took the lead at the turn after Ueda bogeyed No. 9, but the real difference maker came at No. 11, when Ueda made a double bogey to Dryburgh’s birdie after an impressive display with her 4 hybrid to four feet.
“That’s kind of a turning point in the round I’d say. I had a really good shot there yesterday and hit the same club today, so I was confident I could do it again,” said Dryburgh. “But yeah, had an incredible shot there and it was a nice birdie on that one. It was quite a tough one.”
It was off to the races after 11, with Dryburgh carding four more birdies in her last six holes, including at the last for a bogey-free day, the greatest way to cap off an incredible week. “The vibes are just so good,” said Dryburgh, who first joined the Tour in 2018. “I’m lapping it up, to be honest.”