Thibault overcomes 8-shot deficit, wins Women’s Dixie Amateur

Starting the day six shots behind the lead, Brigitte Thibault knew she needed a low number in order to contend for the Dixie Women’s Amateur title.

A 6-6 start to the final round is not what she had in mind.

Thibault, a Fresno State senior from Rosemère, Québec, Canada, went bogey-double to fall eight shots behind the 54-hole leader Taylor Roberts. But then the birdie putts started to fall, sparking a stunning comeback and giving her a two-shot win at Palm Aire Country Club in Pompano Beach, Fla.

Three birdies on the front nine righted the ship and got Thibault back into contention as Roberts went out in 40. At that point she was within three shots of the lead, while Ellen Hume (Ole Miss, England) was within one.

When Roberts doubled the 11th and Hume birdied the next hole, it was Hume that seemingly in control, now two shots ahead with six holes to go, with Thibault three back.

As Thibault was playing in the group immediately ahead of the leaders, she did not have the benefit of watching Roberts and Hume down the stretch. So she put the pedal down and kept trying to make birdies to post a target score.

She did just that.

Back-to-back birdies on 13 and 14 got her closer, although Hume responded with a birdie of her own on the 15th. But Thibault kept going, making birdie at 16 — her third par-5 birdie in four holes — and when she recorded her seventh birdie of the day at the final hole, she was in the clubhouse with a 69 and a 6-under 282 total.

Needing to par in to keep pace, Hume went the other way, dropping shots at 16 and 18, giving Thibault the win. Hume (73) finished solo second at 4 under par.

Roberts, a Florida State freshman who was gunning for her third amateur tournament win this fall, never got anything going on Sunday, closing with an 80 to fall into a third-place tie with Stanford commit Megha Ganne (74) at 1 under par.

Ellen Hume, Megha Ganne, Taylor Roberts

For Thibault, it was her second major amateur title of 2020. In July she won the Women’s Western Amateur. The 3-year Team Canada member is a former Mountain West Conference champion for Fresno State, and has also won the Ontario Amateur.