Icher successfully defends the Catalonia Ladies Masters
Karine Icher of France secured her fifth career victory with a successful defence of her Catalonia Ladies Masters title at the 54-hole Catalonia Ladies Masters in Spain, the final event on the 2005 Robe di Kappa Ladies European Tour calendar.
The 26-year-old from Chateroux defeated three other players by a one stroke margin at twelve-under-par 207 (70-69-68), with a clinch birdie putt from two-and-a-half metres at the final hole.
Gwladys Nocera from France, Spaniard Paula Marti and Italian Sophie Sandolo finished in a tie for second position at 11-under-par 206.
Nocera carded rounds of (68-71-69) for her third runner-up spot of the season, after she finished in second position at the Thailand Ladies Open and the Siemens Austrian Ladies Golf Open earlier in the year.
Marti, playing in the final group with Icher and Sandolo, carded rounds of (68-70-70) and just missed out on the chance to force a play off after leaving her seven metre birdie putt short at the 18 th hole.
Sandolo, the second round leader, fired rounds of (69-68-71) to equal her best finish on the LET, after she secured another second place finish at the Ladies Spanish Open in 2003.
New Zealander Lynnette Brooky rounded off her season in fifth place totalling ten under par with rounds of (71-70-68).
Anja Monke and Miriam Nagl of Germany both tied for sixth position with Denmark 's Iben Tinning, the 2005 Money List winner, at nine under par 210. Tullia Calzavara from Italy and Asa Gottmo tied for ninth position at eight-under-par.
Spanish 15-year-old amateur sensation Carlota Ciganda totalled seven-under-par 212. Ciganda fired a course record eight-under-par 65 in the final round to tie for eleventh position with Trish Johnson and Stephanie Arricau.
Icher, who is based in Orlando , Florida , earns €34,000 in prize money as well as a scooter courtesy of Yamaha for her victory.
She also becomes the fourth player to successfully defend her own title this year on the LET.
In addition to Icher, Cecilia Ekelundh defended her Portuguese title at the Algarve Ladies Open of Portugal, Maria Hjorth carded back-to-back victories at the Ladies English Open and Annika Sörenstam held her Swedish title at the Scandinavian TPC Hosted by Annika.
Following her final putt she was soaked in champagne by her caddy and fiancé Frederic Bonnargent, to whom she is due to be married in December.
"I'm going back to the States tomorrow and we're planning a small ceremony over there with family," said Icher, who has spent the majority of the 2005 season competing on the LPGA Tour in America , where she is currently 31 st on the Money list.
"It was tough today, as Paula and Sophie both played very well," she added. "I missed so many putts out there that it was great to make those two vital putts at the last two holes."
Icher came from two strokes behind to secure her victory today. She started the day at seven-under-par but made a fast charge with birdies at the first and second holes to move to nine- under-par. She dropped a shot at the par-four fourth hole when her second shot fell short of the green and she chipped and two putted. But then she birdied the eighth hole, a par-five, with two putts from the edge of the green to move back to nine under par and she made the turn in 34.
Two more birdies at the 12 th and 13 th holes moved her to eleven-under-par, a shot within reach of Sophie Sandolo, at that time the tournament leader.
She made her second bogey of the day at the par-three 15 th hole when she missed the green, chipped and two putted to drop back to ten-under-par.
But as the heat rose her putter responded and she made a crucial six metre birdie putt at 17 to draw level with both of her playing partners and Nocera, all at eleven-under par as the final group came down the last hole.
Sandolo had a birdie putt from approximately 40 metres and two putted for par and then Marti missed her opportunity from seven metres leaving it all to Icher.
Icher sealed the victory with a two-and-a-half metre birdie putt which flirted with the hole before finally dropping.
"I feel more confident with my putting now under pressure," said Icher. "This win will give me more confidence when I return to America .
"It seems that Spain is very lucky for me because I've now won here three times on the LET."
On top of her two Catalonia Ladies Masters titles, Icher also won the Ladies Spanish Open in 2002, as well as the German Open and Mexx Sport Opens in 2001.
207 - Karine Icher (FRA) 70 69 68
208 - Gwladys Nocera (FRA) 68 71 69, Paula Marti (ESP) 68 70 70, Sophie Sandolo (ITA) 69 68 71
209 - Lynnette Brooky (NZ) 71 70 68
210 - Anja Monke (GER) 69 72 69, Miriam Nagl (GER) 72 68 70, Iben Tinning (DEN) 69 70 71
211 - Tullia Calzavara (ITA) 70 73 68, Asa Gottmo (SWE) 73 70 68
212 - Carlota Ciganda (Am) (ESP) 74 73 65, Stephanie Arricau (FRA) 71 71 70, Trish Johnson (ENG) 72 69 71
213 - Lora Fairclough (ENG) 73 69 71, Marine Monnet-Melocco (FRA) 69 72 72
214 - Georgina Simpson (ENG) 72 70 72, Amanda Moltke-Leth (DEN) 74 68 72
215 - Ana B Sanchez (ESP) 76 71 68, Karen Margrethe Juul (DEN) 72 70 73
216 - Riikka Hakkarainen (FIN) 73 72 71, Sara Jelander (SWE) 72 71 73
217 - Cecilia Ekelundh (SWE) 69 75 73, Diana Luna (ITA) 70 72 75
218 - Elisa Serramia (ESP) 69 77 72, Johanna Waldh (SWE) 73 73 72
219 - Nadina Taylor (AUS) 76 72 71, Marta Prieto (ESP) 71 72 76
220 - Ana Larraneta (ESP) 76 72 72
223 - Cherie Byrnes (AUS) 75 77 71, Kirsty Taylor (ENG) 76 74 73, Ludivine Kreutz (FRA) 77 70 76
224 - Maria Blomqvist (SWE) 75 76 73, Nuria Clau (ESP) 76 75 73
226 - Eleanor Pilgrim (WAL) 77 76 73
227 - Linda Wessberg (SWE) 75 73 79
229 - Sara Beautell (ESP) 76 76 77
242 - Elisabeth Esterl (GER) 79 78 85
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