CAMBRIDGE, Ont. — Austin Ernst, Minjee Lee and world No. 1 Lydia Ko stood in a tight circle whispering to each other, occasionally glancing across the practice green at Caroline Masson.
Over on the 18th green, South Korea's Mi Hyang Lee lined up her putt for birdie and took her shot. As soon as it rolled short of the hole a signal went up and Ernst, Minjee Lee and Ko pounced on their prey, pouring beers all over the surprised Masson.
Masson fired a 5-under 67 in the final round to rally and win her first LPGA title on Sunday, needing Mi Hyang Lee to miss her final putt to win the Manulife Classic. Pouring water over the winner of an LPGA event has become something of a tradition on the tour, but for Masson her colleagues put a little twist on it.
"I think they picked beer because I'm German. They figured I could take it," said Masson, still visibly soaked. "It's pretty sticky, and they had a lot of beer. I wish my shower was just a regular shower, but maybe I'm going to have that in a few minutes.
"It's a great feeling. I appreciate the girls coming out and congratulating me. I prefer the beer over the water, I think."
Masson was tied for fifth after three rounds but edged out the highly competitive field to finish at 16-under overall.
After completing her round she moved to the practice green by the clubhouse to rehydrate as South Korea's Mi Hyang Lee, Australia's Minjee Lee and world No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand finished their rounds. Only after those three had failed to birdie on the 18th hole to force a playoff did she know that she'd earned her first professional title.
Well, that and the beer being poured on her head.
"It's a little weird situation, just waiting," said Masson, sitting by her new, well-polished trophy. "I didn't know how to feel. Obviously, I was happy with my round and happy with a great result either way, but at the same time I just didn't want to think about it too much.
"I mean it's kind of really a blank out there. Just waiting and see what's going to happen."
Mi Hyang Lee, Minjee Lee and France's Karine Icher all tied for second at 15 under. Jutanugarn bogeyed on 18 to fall into a tie for fifth with Norway's Suzann Pettersen and Ko at 14 under.
Players from around the world marvelled at the large crowds in attendance at Whistle Bear Golf Club, similar to the large groups of spectators at the Canadian Women's Open in Calgary the week before.
"It was great to see a lot of people out here and especially a lot of juniors," said Ko, a native of New Zealand. "I think when we come to Canada, I think it's probably the most juniors we see on any of our tour schedule, so it's always good to see the future stars. It's been a fun two weeks."
Hamilton's Alena Sharp was the low Canadian at 9 under, finishing in a tie for 26th. World No. 3 Brooke Henderson, from Smiths Falls, Ont., was 1-under 71 on Sunday to tie with Maude-Aimee Leblanc of Sherbrooke, Que., who shot a 3-under 69 in the fourth round, to finish 39th.
Quebec City's Anne Catherine Tanguay shot 1-over 73 in the fourth round to tie for 44th at 6 under.
"It's awesome," said Henderson who, along with Sharp, represented Canada at the Rio Olympics. "If I can try to help grow the game or inspire someone to pick up this game, this amazing game, it really makes me feel awesome."
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