Sunday, October 07, 2007



Germany’s Martina Eberl enjoyed a bumper pay day on the Ladies European Tour winning two titles simultaneously at the weekend.
The 26-year-old from Munich collected her first professional victory at the Madrid Ladies Masters, with a first prize of €100,000. She also captured "The 18 Finest" by Banque Baring Brothers Sturdza SA, with another first prize of €56,500, earning €156,500 in total.
The 18 Finest was a season-long event incorporating 18 holes at nine different venues. Eberl entered the third and final round of the Madrid Ladies Masters at Club de Golf Retamares trailing Sweden’s Sophie Gustafson by five strokes. The Bayern Munich fan, who played with the Swede in the final round, overcame the deficit to win by one on 13-under-par 206, after rounds of 69, 68 and 69.
“It’s unbelievable. I felt comfortable the whole week. I was hitting the ball well all week, putting well, a good short game, so it all came together and today I was the best,” said Eberl, who had previously finished second on two occasions in a five-year pro career.
“I’m very, very happy. I still can’t believe it. It’s my first win. I’m overwhelmed and I still can’t believe it; just so happy.”
Eberl made an early charge in the final round with four birdies on the front nine and she was five-under-par after another birdie at the tenth. She caught Gustafson when the Swede, who had played the front nine in one-under, bogeyed the short 12th hole, dropping back to 14-under-par in total.
The pair matched each other hole-for-hole until the par-four 15th, when Eberl missed a one foot putt gifting Gustafson the advantage. However when Gustafson’s par putt lipped out at the next hole, the pair tied for the lead again on 13-under.
They both took a three at the short 17th and were tied for the lead with only the par-five 18th to play. At the last hole, both hit long drives, but Gustafson hit her second shot into the water adjacent to the left side of the fairway and was forced to take a penalty drop, resulting in a bogey 6.
With the Swede in trouble, Eberl was given the luxury of being able to lay-up and play the hole in regulation to take the title, although she didn’t realise that she had actually won until she was soaked in celebratory champagne by her fellow professionals, led by European Solheim Cup player Bettina Hauert.
“I didn’t know throughout the day how my score was or how Sophie’s score was. I think I’m just overwhelmed at the moment,” said Eberl, adding: “I’m going to cry later. I have to behave myself now but I mean it’s fantastic. I can’t believe it.”
Eberl jumped 33 places to eighth on the New Star Money List as a result of her victory, while Gustafson moved up two places to second behind Hauert.
Denmark’s Iben Tinning took third place in the tournament on 11-under-par after a 70, while Spain’s Tania Elosegui was fourth on ten-under after a 68. Her compatriot Marta Prieto tied for fifth place with England’s Laura Davies on nine-under-par, while Scotland’s Catriona Matthew and Wales’ Becky Brewerton shared seventh on eight-under-par.