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Head wins title on final hole

England's Samantha Head holed at tense six foot putt on the final hole Sunday to secure a one shot victory in the £100,000 Nedbank Mastercard SA Ladies Masters at the Sun City Resort.

Head fired a four under par 68 for a six under par 210 winning total, and collected the £15,000 winner's cheque ahead of Spain's Raquel Carriedo, Cecilie Lundgreen of Norway and overnight leader Elisabeth Esterl of Germany.

Carriedo carded the day's lowest score, a superb five under par 67, while Lundgreen and Esterl posted 68 and 72 respectively.

On a thrilling afternoon of golf, Head took the outright lead with a 15 foot birdie at the 17th, which came immediately after Carriedo had three-putted the last to return to five under par.

"I was shaking so bad at the end there, my putter was shaking on the backswing and coming forward," said Head, who had her Ryder Cup boyfriend Ignacio Garrido carrying her bag this week.

"I made it my policy not to look at the scoreboard today, so I wasn't even aware that I was leading coming up the last.
"I knew I was up there but not that I had the outright lead. I can't imagine how nervous I would have felt had I known the putt was to win it."

Starting the final day in joint second place, Head toured the front half of the Gary Player resort with a flawless 33, and although she dropped a shot at the 12th, she made amends with another birdie two holes later.

After her birdie on the 17th, Head safely negotiated the 18th fairway, and then fired a five wood from 179 yards on to the back tier of the green, before leaving her 30 foot birdie effort six feet short.

With Carriedo safely in the clubhouse at five under par, a four-way playoff beckoned as Esterl drained a superb 15 foot birdie immediately after
Lundgreen had made a brave seven footer to join them at five under.

It was the second victory of Head's career, and followed her maiden win two year's ago in the Ladies Italian Open.

"That was harder work than my win in Italy," added the 28-year-old from Ascot who is now based in Madrid.

"Although the first win will always special, today's was more satisfying. My birdie on 17 was the key, though I was also very pleased with my second shot on 18, where I cut down on a five wood.

"I've worked hard for the past five months, and I've set myself a two-year goal to lengthen my game. I suppose it's come a bit early.

"Nacho (Garrido) was a great help today, especially on the greens. His lining up of the putts was brilliant and it brought home to me how much work I've got to do to improve my putting."

Although disappointed with her bogey on the 18th, Carriedo, the winner of last week's Taiwan Ladies Open, was pleased with her performance.

The 28-year-old from Zaragoza was six under for the day going up the 18th, but had to settle for a 67 after three putting from 30 feet.

"Yes I'm disappointed with the bogey, but I'm also very happy with second place," said Carriedo, the only Spaniard to represent Europe in The Solheim Cup.

"If you'd asked me yesterday if I'd settle for second place then I would have said yes, because I had a heavy cold and I was close to pulling out.

"But I was fine today, I felt much better and I'm very pleased with the way I played. I left a lot of birdies out there. My aim was to try and win one the first four events on this year's Evian Tour. I managed that so I can go home now for a good rest."

Carriedo can also content herself with the fact that she now heads the Evian Order of Merit, the Solheim Cup ranking and the European moneylist.
Leading by one at the start of the day, Esterl had a mixed front half, cancelling out a double bogey and bogey with an eagle and birdie for an even
par 33.

Her chances of securing her maiden win looked unlikely as she posted consecutive bogeys at the 10th and 11th, but she responded bravely with
another birdie at the 14th and her one at the last.

It was Esterl's second runner-up placing in successive events. Last week the 24-year-old from Dingolfing finished joint second in the Taiwan Ladies
Masters.

Lundgreen moved into contention after firing five birdies and a solitary bogey for her 68. The 27-year-old from Sarpsborg joined the Evian Tour last
season, and today secured what is easily the best finish of her professional after her brave par at the last.


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