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Icher coasts to victory with record scores

Karine Icher from France completed a wire-to-wire victory at the Catalonia Ladies Masters in incredible fashion with her second score of 62 in the tournament.

The 25-year-old from Châteauroux finished on 17-under par 190 with scores of 62, 66 and 62 to break the existing record of 200 for a 54-hole event and win the € 31,000 first prize by a massive nine shots from compatriot Stephanie Arricau and home course favourite Paula Marti.

Icher began the day with a two shot lead and after making four birdies in her first five holes and with little or no reply from the field as she turned in 29, the former Solheim Cup player eventually cruised to her fourth LET victory in three years as a professional.

Anja Monke from Germany made the final event on the LET her best with a fourth place finish outright on seven under par to post her sixth top ten finish in her rookie season.

Gwladys Nocera from France, who was the nearest challenger to Icher at the start of the final day, closed in fifth place on six under par after a 71 and England's Kirsty Taylor finished as top Briton with a final round 67 for a four under par total, one clear of namesake Nadina Taylor from Australia.

Laura Davies, who officially claimed her sixth LET order of merit title in a glittering career, did not have the fairytale ending on Sunday after a 76 which dropped her down to a tie for 12 th on level par.

But it was Icher who was delighted after winning her first event since the 2002 Spanish Open.

"I am very happy as it has been a long time since my last win," said Icher, who becomes the second player this season to shoot 62 on two occasions after Finland's Minea Blomqvist, the 19-year-old who became the only player in history, male or female, to shoot a ten under 62 in a major championship at the Weetabix Women's British Open.

Blomqvist, who wrapped up the Ryder Cup Wales Rookie of the Year title, also carded a 62 en route to her maiden victory in Hungary in July.

"I was really focussed all day long and my putting was excellent all day," added Icher.

"It is the sort of course you can make a lot of birdies and I did that at the start of the round which made me feel a bit more relaxed.

"From the second to the 13 th hole I was very concentrated and when I looked up at the leader board at the 14 th , I think I was five shots clear so I began to relax and it was a great feeling to be able to walk down the last few holes with a big lead."

Consolation for second placed Arricau, who won her first two titles earlier this year in Spain and in France, was winning the award for the LET Players' Player of the Year.

"I am very happy with this award, it means a lot to me as it is awarded by my fellow players and to be recognised like this makes me proud," said Arricau, who finished third on the Order of Merit behind Davies and Trish Johnson.

"I remember when Patricia Meunier Lebouc won her first major last year and that inspired me to work harder and I hope this will inspire other French women golfers to work hard and become successful in golf."

Catalonia Ladies Masters
field: top 25 from Order of Merit & 8 invites

Club de Golf Sant Cugat
1 st - 3 rd October 2004

Final Scoreboard       
(-17) 190  - Karine Icher (FRA) 62 66 62

(-8) 199  - Stephanie Arricau (FRA) 67 67 65, Paula Marti (ESP) 67 66 66

(-7) 200  - Anja Monke (GER) 67 69 64

(-6) 201  - Gwladys Nocera (FRA) 64 66 71

(-4) 203  - Kirsty Taylor (ENG) 68 68 67

(-3) 204  - Nadina Taylor (AUS) 66 67 71

(-2) 205  - Marta Prieto (ESP) 69 66 70, Helen Alfredsson (SWE) 64 68 73

(-1) 206  - Becky Brewerton (WAL) 70 70 66, Laurette Maritz (SA) 66 69 71

(E) 207  - Lynnette Brooky (NZ) 65 73 69, Asa Gottmo (SWE) 66 71 70, Laura Davies (ENG) 65 66 76

(+1) 208  - Gina Scott (NZ) 64 72 72, Sara Beautell (ESP) 70 71 67

(+2) 209  - Linda Wessberg (SWE) 68 68 73

(+3) 210  - Minea Blomqvist (FIN) 77 65 68

(+4) 211  - Diana Luna (ITA) 69 69 73, Anne-Marie Knight (AUS) 69 71 71

(+5) 212  - Marina Arruti (ESP) 67 77 68

(+6) 213  - Virginie Auffret (FRA) 71 69 73, Candy Hannemann (BRA) 73 71 69

(+7) 214  - Elisabeth Esterl (GER) 73 72 69

(+8) 215  - Natascha Fink (AUT) 73 70 72

(+9) 216  - Trish Johnson (ENG) 70 76 70

(+10) 217  - Patricia Sota (ESP) 73 73 71, Martina Eberl (GER) 73 73 71

(+14) 221  - Marlene Hedblom (SWE) 79 73 69, Ana B Sanchez (ESP) 71 75 75

(+16) 223  - Ana Larraneta (ESP) 73 75 75

(+18) 225  - Nuria Clau (ESP) 75 73 77

RTD  - Georgina Simpson (ENG) 68 72 RTD


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