Anastasia Kostina of Russia made history by winning the GolfStream Ladies Open at Kiev Golf Club on Thursday. It was the first ever women’s professional golf tournament to be staged in Ukraine.
Kostina finished four strokes clear of overnight leader Bénédicte Toumpsin from Belgium by posting a magnificent final round of 70 in tough conditions including high winds of around 30km per hour.
Scottish amateur Pamela Pretswell, who won the previous week in Sweden, ended the tournament in third position at six over par.
First round leader Viva Schlasberg of Sweden finished fourth on eight over and was followed two strokes further back by England’s Rachel Bell.
Kostina started the final round four shots behind the overnight leader but was tied for the lead after Toumpsin dropped six shots in the first 12 holes.
Kostina then took advantage of her opportunity with a fantastic finish, making four birdies in her last six holes, at the 13th, 15th, 17th and 18th. She said: “The key was to stay out of the rough today. It is very exciting for me because the last couple of years I have been struggling with my drives.
“I was surprisingly calm all day. I was talking to myself: ‘When am I going to start getting nervous?’ Bénédicte doubled the tenth hole so I knew I got closer to her. And then I made a birdie and she made a bogey. And then the referee asked our score on 15 and then I realised I was up by two and then I made another birdie. I knew I was close; I just had to play my own game. I just tried to do the best I could with every shot. Surprisingly I wasn't nervous at all.”
Kostina had three bogeys against one birdie on the outward nine, with her only birdie on par-three second, where she struck her three-wood to six feet.
The momentum swung in her favour from the tough par-five 13th, after she hit her seven-iron to two metres picking up a shot.
She then hit her wedge to three metres and rolled in the birdie putt at the par-four 15th.
At the par-three 17th, she hit her wedge shot to three metres and made the putt, before finishing in style by sinking a four metre birdie putt at the par-five 18th.
Kostina rated the championship golf course at Kiev Golf Club highly and she commented: “It's was of the toughest courses we played this season. It's in great shape and the greens were the best so far. They were not easy to read. It's a fair course, you just have to hit the shots; you can't hit it 50 yards left and still make a par. It punishes you for bad shots.”
On account of her victory she will now receive an invitation to play in next week’s Deloitte Ladies Open in Holland as well as the Raiffeisenbank Prague Golf Masters on the Ladies European Tour and said that she was, “So, so excited!”
Kostina will not only make history as the first woman professional to win in Ukraine but also as the first Russian winner on either the LET Access Series or main Ladies European Tour.
Earlier in the week, she posted on Twitter: ‘So glad @LETAccess has a tournament in Kiev. Can’t wait till the day Russia is hosting a women's event!’
Her victory will undoubtedly inspire other Russian golfers to success and she added: “It's very exciting. I just talked to the Russian coach and she said it is very exciting for the young girls because we have been practicing together all winter and playing together and they know that they play with me; they know how I play. Sometimes they beat me. They know if I can do it then they can do it as well. I think it's good for Russian golf and for Ukrainian golf too, just to have an example.”
The LET Access Series will now take a short break before the next event: the Ladies Norwegian Challenge which will take place at Losby Golf Club near Oslo from July 4-6.
GolfStream Ladies Open
Kiev Golf Club, Ukraine
22-24 May 2012
215 - Anastasia Kostina (RUS) 75 70 70
219 - Benedicte Toumpsin (BEL) 73 68 78
222 - Pamela Pretswell (SCO) 77 68 77
224 - Viva Schlasberg (SWE) 71 75 78
226 - Rachel Bell (ENG) 74 77 75
228 - Marion Ricordeau (FRA) 76 72 80
230 - Mariana Macias Capuzzi (ESP) 76 74 80, Elina Nummenpaa (FIN) 73 75 82
231 - Gemma Webster (SCO) 77 76 78
233 - Chiari Brizzolari (ITA) 79 73 81, Eva Steinberger (AUT) 74 79 80, Pamela Feggans (SCO) 75 74 84
234 - Ana Larraneta (ESP) 78 79 77, Sarah Jones (WAL) 79 78 77
235 - Lien Willems (BEL) 75 84 76, Cecilie Lundgreen (NOR) 77 77 81, Mianne Bagger (DNK) 81 78 76, Julie Tvede (DNK) 81 78 76, Danielle Mcveigh (IRL) 80 78 77, Sohvi Harkonen (FIN) 74 77 84, Isabella Ramsay (SWE) 78 79 78
236 - Galina Rotmistrova (RUS) 74 84 78, Katy Mcnicoll (SCO) 72 78 86, Nalini Singh Siwach (IND) 79 79 78, Laurence Herman (BEL) 78 78 80, Marianne Andersson (SWE) 74 77 85
237 - Heather Macrae (SCO) 80 79 78
238 - Laura Sedda (ITA) 79 77 82
239 - Melanie Maetzler (CHE) 76 81 82
240 - Matia Maffiuletti (ITA) 81 75 84
243 - Sandra Eggermont (NLD) 79 80 84