Five shots down at one point in Sunday's final round of the Alliance Bank Futures Golf Classic, Violeta Retamoza was all but dismissed from the picture.
Then again, after a first-round 75 on the Links at Erie Village on her 24th birthday, Retamoza was just glad to be anywhere near the picture.
And when it counted the most, when others were busy throwing the tournament away, Retamoza played her best.
Four birdies on the last 10 holes, including 16 and 18, led to a 67 and a total of five-under-par 208, finishing her one shot clear of defending champion Ha-Na Chae.
The win was worth $11,200, and pulled Retamoza from ninth to sixth on the Futures money list with $34,003, just behind Mollie Fankhauser ($34,345) for the fifth and final qualifying spot on the LPGA Tour to be handed out at season's end.
Perhaps it was symbolic that Retamoza survived a fierce battle for the championship, since "fierce" was a good word to describe the conditions for Friday's opening round.
Heavy rains inundated Erie Village the night before, and more precipitation arrived on Friday, forming deep puddles in some bunkers. This, combined with a gusty wind that topped 30 miles per hour, sent scores higher.
In fact, no one in the field broke 70. Seven players -- Audra Burks, Yeon Jo Lee, Eungung Yi, Brandi Jackson, Onnarin Sattayabanphot, Cortney Reno and Allison Kuczka -- finished on that number to share the lead. Retamoza shot 75.
The rough conditions sent the local contingent out of contention. Julie Peluso (Skaneateles), who tied for third in 2006, never recovered from her opening 76 and, with 153, missed the cut.
Lori Atsdedes (Ithaca), a winner earlier this year in Florida, tied for 47th. Section III champion Jillian Fraccola (Fayetteville-Manlius) shot a 92 on Friday, hurt by a 14 on the par-five 7th hole.