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Bettina Hauert wins in three way playoff

Germany’s Bettina Hauert won a three-way play-off against Australia’s Anna Rawson and Spain’s Paula Marti in dramatic fashion at the Deutsche Bank Ladies Swiss Open.

Hauert, 24, a fourth year Ladies European Tour player from Hagen, posted a final round 72 in regulation, with three birdies on the final three holes to reach three-under-par 285 in total.

She then birdied the par-five 447-yard 18th hole at Golf Gerre Losone four more times to become a first time Tour winner and won a first prize of €78,750.

She shared the lead for four rounds after scores of 68, 73, 72 and 72 but came from three shots down with three holes to play in her final round. She eventually clinched the win with a four foot birdie putt at the fourth extra hole to deny Marti, Rawson having been eliminated after a par at the second play-off hole.

“It was a fight from the first to the last but it’s been great,” said Hauert, who posted seven birdies in her last seven holes. “I have been in play-offs as an amateur but never in my professional life. I live for this feeling. This is what we practise for and this is what we live for. Holding the cheque and holding the trophy is just amazing.”

Rawson, one of four co-leaders overnight, also carded an even-par 72 on Sunday and birdied the last hole to fall into a tie. Marti, the 2002 LET order of merit winner, closed with a two-under 70 and made the playoff with two birdies on the last two holes. She took the clubhouse lead with two putts from the back of the green for her closing birdie.

Hauert and Rawson both had eagle putts to take the outright lead at the 72nd hole but neither managed to get them to drop. All three players birdied the first extra hole. Rawson hit her approach shot wide but was on the green in three and was the first to roll in her long birdie putt. Hauert then rolled in her 15 footer before Marti responded by converting hers.

All three headed back to the 18th tee for the second extra hole. Rawson reached the back of the green in two but left her chip shot short and then two putted for par. Hauert played an excellent bunker shot to two feet and sank the birdie putt. Marti, who had nearly hit the pin with her third shot, then holed her 20 foot birdie putt. With Rawson out of the competition, Hauert and Marti both birdied the third extra hole. Marti chipped her third shot stone dead while Hauert rolled in a long 12 foot putt to rapturous applause.

At the fourth extra hole, Marti found trouble off the tee and was forced to lay up in front of the water protecting the front of the green. However she hit her third shot to five feet. Hauert was on in two and missed her eagle putt. Marti, the more experienced player, then missed her birdie putt and Hauert holed her birdie putt from four feet.

“I’m okay. I’m very happy,” said Marti, who won both of the previous two play-offs in which she had competed, at the 2001 La Perla Italian Open and the 2002 ALPG Championship.

“I haven’t played in a year and my expectations weren’t high. You never know where you’re going to be in a play-off. I played three very good holes and then just made a par but she played very well and was very consistent. It’s good for my confidence. I know I can win again and I know it will come one day soon.” Marti gave birth to her son Izan not 11 months ago, in July 2006.

Rawson, who finished tied for second with Marti, had never experienced a play-off before but said that she would learn from the experience. “Never get in one!” she joked. “It was very good for me. It was fun and I had a blast.”

Rawson held a four stroke lead on six-under-par at the turn, but she dropped back to two-under after bogeys at the 10th, 13th, 14th and 16th holes. She fought back from a near collapse by birdying the last two holes in regulation and she said: “It was a little disappointing to be six-under at the turn and then drop four shots on the back nine. I think I looked at the leaderboard a bit too much. I three putted three times on holes 10, 13 and 16 so three less putts and I would have been a winner but it happens.

“I didn’t think there was any way that Paula and Bettina were going to hole their birdie putts at the first extra hole but they did. That’s golf!”

Denmark’s Lisa Holm Sorensen, the 2005 Finnish Masters Champion, shot a final round 70 and finished a shot behind the leaders at two-under in outright fourth position. Britons Eleanor Pilgrim and Trish Johnson were a stroke further back at one-under-par and shared fifth position. Pilgrim, tied for the lead overnight, shot 74 while Johnson carded 69. Sweden’s Johanna Westerberg finished in seventh on level par after a 72. Meanwhile England’s Lora Fairclough, also tied for the lead after the third round, carded 76 and finished in a tie for eighth place on one-over.

Following her victory, Hauert seized the outright lead in the New Star Money List with total earnings of €93,256.10 from five events. She also earned 60 Solheim Cup points and moved into fifth place on The 2007 European Solheim Cup Team standings, just inside the cut-off point for automatic qualification. The top five players from the standings qualify for the European Team, followed by the next four players on the Rolex World Rankings and three Captain’s Selections.

 




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