South Africa’s Lejan Lewthwaite won the 2023 Hauts De France Pas De Calais Golf Open, a co-sanctioned event with the Alps Tour, after a dramatic playoff.

After rounds of 71-69-68, Lewthwaite ended the tournament with a total of eleven-under-par and found herself in a playoff alongside overnight leader Slovenia’s Katja Pogacar. 

The 32-year-old, who had to withdraw from last week’s tournament after two holes due to sickness, headed back down 18 and made a birdie on the first playoff hole, as did Pogacar to send them back to the tee.

It took a third playoff hole to crown Lewthwaite the champion as she chipped her third shot near the green to give herself the birdie opportunity.

Speaking a couple of hours after securing victory, Lewthwaite said: “I feel extremely taken aback to be honest. Going into the week I wasn’t expecting it.

“It’s been a tough last two years and it’s nice to come out of that and find some positivity.

“I thought 12 under would win the tournament and I would be one shot short, so I was excited to get into the playoff. It was great that Katja birdied her last hole to get back into the playoff as she has played well this week.”

Lewthwaite, who turned professional in 2016 has been playing between the LET and LETAS this season but this win has been a long time coming for the South African who has never won on either tour.

Her previous top finish this season has been 25th at two events; Ahlsell Final at Elisefarm and the Trust Golf Link Series at Ramside Hall.

Speaking about going into the playoff, Lewthwaite said: “I didn’t feel great in the first hole, but my first putt was like one I had in a regulation round so I knew what the line was going to be, then the second hole we both made good pars.

“Then the driver said to me going back up to the 18th that we should make it before the sun goes down and I said don’t worry we will be done in fifteen minutes.

“So, I don’t know if that was a mind shift, but I thought someone would win after the third hole and I wanted it to be me.

“In terms of celebrating, I’m currently waiting for a ferry back to the UK, but I will open a bottle of champagne with my sisters and mum who I live with back in the UK.

“This win means a great deal, I’m excited to rest up for two weeks as it’s been a busy schedule. Next up is to play the remainder of the LETAS schedule.”

It was a Swedish tie for third place as Ellen Hutchinson Kay and Corinne Viden both finished on 10-under-par.

England’s Thalia Martin and Australia’s Kristalle Blum finished fifth on nine-under-par whilst last week’s winner Switzerland’s Chiara Tamburlini and New Zealand’s Wenyung Keh finished seventh on eight-under-par.

Netherland’s Pasquale Coffa finished solo ninth on seven-under-par after consistent rounds of 71, 71 and 70.

Meanwhile on the Alps Tour, Ireland’s Ronan Mullarney captured his second win of the season.

LETAS now has two weeks off before heading to Italy for the Lombardia LETAS Open, a late addition to the schedule and a new tournament.

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