Finland’s Linda Henriksson claimed her first LETAS victory in the VP Bank Ladies Open at GC Gams-Werdenberg, with a solid par round in tough conditions. The Finn set the clubhouse lead at four under par, with Nina Pegova of Russia matching Henriksson’s round of 72 to draw level. None of the fifty-two players who had qualified for the final round were able to break par, as the strong and gusty winds took their toll.
Henriksson believed she had done enough to capture her first win when overnight leader Meghan MacLaren from England, failed to make a birdie on the final hole but there had been a mistake with Pegova’s numbers when informing the scorers and the Russian had also finished at -4 and not -3, as previously thought.
The two players had to go to a play-off to decide the title. Henriksson played the first extra hole, the short par five 18th, aggressively, hitting her drive on the fairway and placing her second shot on the green. Her Russian counterpart found the right greenside bunker with her second shot, left the bunker shot short and failed to convert her birdie. The Finn was left with a three-metre putt for her birdie and her first victory on the LET Access Series.
"I was extremely nervous in this play-off, my knees were trembling, and the last putt took an hour," said Henriksson.
She not only picked up the € 6,440 cheque, but also made her season planning a little easier.
"After a bad season in 2016, it seemed to me that I would have to rely so many times on wildcards to get into the tournaments. As a season winner in 2017, I am now set for all the LETAS events.”
Third placed MacLaren was two shots ahead of the field with six holes to play but a triple-bogey on the difficult 13th cost her dearly, and she went on to record a final round 75, +3. Although the young Englishwoman was unable to claim her third LETAS victory, her performance kept her at the top of the LETAS Order of Merit.
Sweden’s Jenny Haglund (75), who earned her 2017 LET card via LETAS last year, finished in 4th place with a one under par total, 215.
Amateur Sara Kouskova from the Czech Republic, secured the best amateur prize, finishing in a tie for 14th place with a +5 total, 221.