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Davies claims WPGA Matchplay title

England's Laura Davies lifted the £110,000 first prize at the WPGA International Matchplay championship after a comprehensive 5&4 victory over Scotland's Janice Moodie in the final over the PGA Centenary course at Gleneagles.

The 38-year-old Surrey based player recorded her first win in 25 months in Europe, the 1999 Compaq Open being her last.

The six-time Solheim Cup stalwart was delighted that her form and confidence of old returned as she bids to make a return to the top of women's golf, and make sure of an automatic placing for Dale Reid's European Solheim Cup team next year.

Sweden's Sophie Gustafson made up for an unfortunate exit in the semi-final against Davies, having been penalised 'loss of hole' at the 19th when rules officials discovered that her American caddie Chuck Hoersch inadvertently took a buggy ride after 'a comfort stop' between the 18th and first tees.

The Swede swept aside Carin Koch by 4&3 in the third and fourth place match to earn £50,000, carding level par through 15 holes on a cool autumn day in the Glens.

Davies took control of the final early on, reaching four up after six holes with a birdie at the second hole and a string of pars. From there, the former World number one knew there was no looking back.

Despite a brief fight back from Moodie at the 11th where she birdied, Davies regained control with a 15 foot birdie of her own at the 13th, and sealed the match with a deft up and down at the par three 14th to collect 30 valuable Solheim Cup points.

"I didn't make many mistakes out there," said Davies after her second win of the year. "Unfortunately, Janice got off to a bad start with some early bogies and this was a day when par was your friend.

"My confidence is back and I feel like I can take on the top guns again. As soon as this event was announced I was looking forward to it, I love matchplay.

"The turning point was the thirteenth, I made a good 15 footer there and Janice's three putt at the 14th effectively let me have it."

With the win, Davies reached eighth position in the 2002 Solheim Cup rankings, one outside of the automatic qualification spots, and showed captain Reid that she was still a force to be reckoned with for next years clash at Interlachen.

"That's high on my agenda," she added. "I need to do well in next years majors so I can make Dale's job a bit easier for her. This event was a great idea, we need a Women's matchplay event and I hope that it grows so that the best players in the world come over and make it develop."

Moodie, who carded eight birdies in her 2&1 win over Koch, who made four of her own, in the morning semi final, could not reproduce it at the last stage. But the 28-year-old Glaswegian was happy that she carried the Saltire all the way to the end.

"I just didn't get anything going this afternoon," said Moodie, who picked up £70,000 for her efforts. "I played well all week but couldn't keep it up in the final round. Laura played too well today and didn't allow me to get away with anything. But the whole week was great and I loved every single minute of it."

Sweden's big hitting Maria Hjorth defeated American Laura Diaz 2&1 for fifth place, while Norwegian Tour rookie Suzann Pettersen picked up seventh place with a 5&4 win over veteran French star Marie Laure de Lorenzi.

Elisabeth Esterl from Germany took 9th place, beating Spain's Paula Marti 4&3.

And Sweden's Catrin Nilsmark took 11th spot with a one hole victory over Scotland's Kathryn Marshall.



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