Finland’s Sanna Nuutinen claimed her third career LETAS win at the 2020 Flumserberg Ladies Open in a thrilling sudden-death playoff from overnight leader Stina Resen, after the pair tied at 12-under-par.
Trailing for the duration of the final round, Nuutinen started the day two shots behind and fell further adrift with back-to-back bogeys on the first two holes.
Undeterred, the 27-year-old preceded to put on a ball-striking masterclass in the sweltering conditions at Gams-Werdenberg Golf Club, making three consecutive birdies on Nos. 5,6 and 7 and 11,12 and 13 to draw level.
With four holes to go, it was all to play for as the season’s opening tournament hung in the balance.
Approaching the par five 18th green, Nuutinen was faced with a 5 meter birdie putt to make the playoff.
She calmly delivered.
“In regulation, I did not know what the scores were, but I had a feeling it was important. I had a simple chip from greenside and chunked it to five meters but luckily I was able to put a good stroke on it.”
Heading to the sudden-death playoff, both players took aggressive lines off the tee on the dog leg second hole, with Nuutinen’s three-wood leaving her only 47 meters to the pin versus Resen’s 80 meters.
Both players made it look easy to the onlooking spectators, hitting the green to around 9ft, with Nuutinen set to go first from more or less the same position.
“I had a similar length putt in the Czech Republic one year ago to get in to the playoff and I learnt from that experience, I left it short last year so I thought I just need to get it there.”
Proving to be a quick learner, Nuutinen rolled home and Resen missed to claim the all-important victory.
Speaking about the win, she said, “I’m going to give myself credit for doing the job I was expecting to do, I wanted to win and I feel great that I was able to pull through. I want to practice winning and it feels incredible to achieve something you’ve been working for.”
As a result of the current COVID-19 restrictions, Nuutinen has no plans to celebrate immediately with friends but insisted she would in the coming weeks when she gets home.
Sharing her immediate plans, it might not be the most conventional champion’s warm down, but it seems fitting for the hard-working Finn.
“I’m going to do a little workout in my room tonight, golf tomorrow and then treat myself to a rest day on Monday with a lot of sleep.”