Spain's Carmen Alonso recorded her first international professional win at the AXA Czech Ladies Challenge at Golf Resort Konopiste in Bystrice. The 33-year-old finished on 205, 11 under par, with a final day 69, providing a three shot win over Czech amateur Theresa Melecka and Inci Mehmet of England.
Alonso has long been regarded as one of the most naturally talented players in women's golf but has struggled to produce a win on a major tour. A reunion with her old coach from 16 years ago has started to build her self belief. The Spaniard contacted Jonathan Yarwood through Facebook towards the end of last year and asked if he would be interested to teach her again. They had first met when Alonso attended the IMG Golf Academy for eighteen months at the age of seventeen and when she returned home they stopped seeing each other. Alonso feels that Yarwood's belief in her has helped her self confidence.
"I didn’t believe it and I don’t know maybe because I know him from so many years ago. You have to build your own confidence but he told me that I’m a really good player and I can be on the LPGA. Obviously it’s about time but maybe I believe more in myself now."
With her first international win in sight, Alonso just wanted to stay relaxed and not get in her own way. She got off to a slow start with pars on the first five holes, which included two par 5's. A birdie on the 6th and a bogey on the 8th meant an opening nine of even par. Three birdies in a row from the 12th enabled Alonso to pull away from her closest challenges and maintain a three shot lead playing the 18th hole, and her first win in sight. An easy par resulted, and a celebration with a crowd of fellow Spanish players who joined Alonso on the 18th green.
"This is my first international win and I feel calm, that’s the only thing. Stay in my job, do whatever I need to do and that’s it."
Czech amateur Tereza Melecka, who lead after the first round and was in close pursuit of Alonso during the final day, until bogeys on the 9th and 10th halted her progress, finished in a tie for 2nd place with a 71, and an 8 under par total alongside talented English player Inci Mehmet, who closed with a 69.
France's Marion Benzekri lost her golf clubs on the way to the event and had to borrow a set in order to play, finishing in fourth place on her own at seven under par.
Four players occupied fifth place at 6 under, Cloe Frankish (69) of England, France's Ines Lescudier (69), Valdis Thora Jonsdottir (70) and Sweden's Frida Gustaffson-Spang (72).
The LET Access Series moves to Switzerland next week for the inaugural Lavaux Ladies Championship, played at Golf de Lavaux in Puidoux, from the 20 - 22 June.