Saturday, December 08, 2007


Gwladys Nocera from France claimed her fifth Ladies European Tour title at the inaugural EMAAR-MGF Masters at Eagleton Resort, Bangalore in India today.
Nocera led from the first to the last but a tense final day battle between two of the LET’s best French players ensured an exciting and dramatic finish.
From the first round, Nocera, pictured right, a 32-year-old from Moulins, never relinquished her lead and she won with a total of seven-under-par 281 after a final round of 71, one-under-par – but the win didn’t come as easily as expected.
Nocera entered the final round on six-under-par, with a three stroke lead over Virginie-Lagoutte-Clement from France. Gwladys established a four-stroke buffer over her compatriot on eight-under-par after 12 holes in the final round, but eventually won by just one shot.
Nocera made the turn in 36 with a three stroke lead over Lagoutte-Clement, but that lead was narrowed to two strokes when she bogeyed the 13th hole and Lagoutte-Clement birdied it. The pair matched each other for the next three holes, until Lagoutte-Clement birdied the 345yd par-4 17th to close the gap to just one shot going down the last.
Lagoutte-Clement gave herself the chance to tie for the lead at the 17th, when she drew a superb drive 345yd over trees to give herself a 15 foot eagle putt, only to leave it three feet short.
With just one stroke separating the pair standing on the 18th tee, both players drove their balls the same distance into the left hand rough. Lagoutte-Clement was first to play, and hit her approach to the green 20 feet long. Nocera replied by hitting hers 18 feet short, and when Lagoutte-Clement missed her birdie chance, Nocera took two putts for the victory.
It was Nocera’s fifth win on Tour in two seasons and her second of the year. She won the KLM Ladies Open in Holland in June. However she also won the Princess Lalla Meryem Cup in Rabat, Morocco, at the end of October, which was not a Ladies European Tour event.
“I feel happy to win and now I want to do it again,” said Nocera, who posted four birdies and three bogeys in her final round. “I knew it was going to be tough today. I knew Virginie was playing well and I knew she could hit the ball a long way and make a few putts. I wanted to birdie 16 because I knew she was going to go for the green on 17, but that’s just the way it is. She has done that before so I knew she would do it again.
“I just thought, "make your par". I was hoping that she wouldn’t make the putt for eagle because I knew that would be a struggle. I still have a few things to fix. I need to reach more greens and my concentration was a bit on and off throughout the week so I need to make sure everything is alright for next week (for the season-ending Dubai Ladies Masters)."
Winnings of €30,000 took Nocera from sixth place to fifth on the New Star Money List, which she now has a chance of winning with a strong finish in Dubai.
Lagoutte-Clement, who came so close to a third LET victory, carded a final round of 69 and was pleased to have finished in outright second on six-under-par. She said: “I’m so happy, so excited.”
England's Lisa Hall, a two-time winner in 2007, finished third on four-under-par after a 69 and was pleased with how she played. “I birdied three of the last five holes so that was certainly a nice way to finish,” said Hall.
“It was an enjoyable week. I didn’t have a three-putt all week and I think I might have been one of the few players who didn’t have a three-putt. But then my caddy would say that’s because I was leaving them all short! It was just very steady. I was never in any trouble.”
Sweden’s Lotta Wahlin finished fourth on three-under-par after a 69, while Thailand’s Titiya Plucksataporn had a career best finish of tied fifth on two-under-par. Denmark’s Karen-Margrethe Juul tied for sixth place with England’s Trish Johnson and Spain’s Marta Prieto on one-under-par while France’s Stephanie Arricau shared ninth place with England’s Laura Davies and Germany’s Martina Eberl on level par.
The best placed Indian player in the tournament was Tania Wadhwa, who was also the leading amateur, and she finished tied for 23rd position on five-over-par. The 15-year-old Wadhwa flew in from America especially to play in the tournament and her result bodes well for the future of women’s professional golf in India.
Clare Queen (The Carrick at Cameron House) earned 2,070 Euos for a share of 28th place on 295. Clare had rounds of 75, 72, 73 and 75. In her final round, she took a long time to get going with bogeys at the second, fifth, ninth and 10th. Her first birdie came at the 11th but she bogeyed the 12th before birdieing the long 15th for halves of 39 and 36.
Kylie Walker (Buchanan Castle), with Michele Thomson (McDonald Ellon), playing on special invitations for amateurs, took the chance to turn in arguably her best performance of the season.
Kylie had scores of 77, 73, 72 and 75 for nine-over-par 297 and a share of 35th position, not bad at all among professional company. Kylie bogeyed the second, third and fourth but birdied the fifth and long seventh before a bogey at the eighth saw her turne in two-over-par 38. Another birdie at the long 10th helped to offset the damage of a double-bogey 6 at the long par-4 16th in halves of 38 and 37.
Had she been playing as a professional, Kylie would have won 1,590 Euros.
Michele Thomson had rounds of 82, 79, 75 and 78 for 64th place on 314. She had a triple bogey 8 at the 15th in an inward half of 40 today. Also dropped single shots at the fifth, seventh, 13th and 17th in halves of 38 and 40. Over the four rounds, the LGU Elite Squad player had one triple bogey and two double bogeys. That's a lot of shots to "give away" in a professional tournament.
Par 288 (4 x 72)
281 G Nocera (France) 69 69 72 71 (30,000 Euros).
282 V Lagoutte-Clement (France) 72 75 66 68 (20,300 Euros).
284 Lisa Hall (England) 72 73 70 69 (14,000 Euros).
285 L Wahlin (Sweden) 69 75 72 69 (10,800 Euros).
286 T Plucksataporn (Thailand) 72 71 74 69 (8,480 Euros).
287 K-M Juul (Denmark) 73 73 70 71, T Johnson (England) 73 70 72 72, M Prieto (Spain) 73 70 72 72 (6,000 Euros each).
288 S Arricau (France) 72 73 76 67, L Davies (England) 77 74 67 70, M Eberl (Germany) 76 71 68 73 (4,053 Euros each).
289 M Beautell (Spain) 77 70 70 72 (3,440 Euros).
290 M Rigon (Italy) 73 72 72 73, Becky Brewerton (Wales) 76 70 71 73 (3,150 Euros each).
Other totals:
293 J Head (England) 77 71 73 72 (jt 20th) (2,520 Euros).
294 R Coakley (Ireland) 73 76 73 72, S Walker (England) 70 75 72 77 (jt 23rd) (2,310 Euros each).
295 K Matharu (England) 76 73 73 73, C Queen (The Carrick at Cameron House) 75 72 73 75 (jt 28th) (2,070 Euros each).
296 D Masters (England) 77 76 70 73 (jt 32nd) (1,860 Euros).
297 K Walker (Buchanan Castle) (amateur) 77 73 72 75 (jt 35th).
300 Lydia Hall (Wales) 76 75 74 75 (jt 44th) (1,220 Euros).
301 F More (England) 78 74 72 77, H Kavanagh (Ireland) 78 74 72 77 (1,080 Euros each).
303 F Johnson (England) 78 75 76 74, N C Booth (England) 73 76 77 77 (jt 51st) (940 Euros each).
304 C Coughlan (Ireland) 79 77 74 74 (jt 54th) (840 Euros).
306 K S Taylor (England) 76 77 79 74 (jt 57th) (720 Euros).
307 K Taylor (England) 75 78 74 80 (jt 60th) (640 Euros).
311 S Heath (England) 74 79 79 79 (63rd) (600 Euros).
314 M Thomson (McDonald Ellon) (amateur) 82 69 75 78.
318 G Simpson (England) 82 77 80 79, J Clingan (England) 76 78 84 80 (jt 66th) (570 Euros each).

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