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Laura Davies gains 68th career win

Laura Davies produced a vintage performance to end a 13-month wait for a title at the UNIQA Ladies Golf Open presented by Raiffeisen in Austria.

The 43-year-old from England added a final day six-under-par 66 to her previous rounds of 69 and 65 - (which was a new course record) – to claim her 36th Ladies European Tour title and her 68 th in total.

She finished on 16-under-par 200 after 54 holes, four strokes ahead of Sweden's Sophie Gustafson in second.

France's Virginie Lagoutte-Clement (71, 69, 69) and England's Kirsty A Taylor (72, 68, 69) finished tied for third on seven-under-par, while 18-year-old amateur Marina Kotnik was the highest-placed Austrian finishing tied for 30 th on one-over-par.

It was Davies' maiden victory in Austria and her first title since the SAS Masters in Norway in August 2006, a win which also helped her to top the New Star Money List for the seventh time in her career.

She admitted it was as a welcome relief.

“It's nice. It was getting a bit late in the year. I've only got eight tournaments left so I had to win one.

“It's massive, it's massive. I just love winning trophies. It's easy to say but I just love winning them and this makes it that there was only one year in 23 years that I didn't win a tournament (2005) and that still wrangles me that I didn't win a tournament that year.

I love the golf course and that was one of the reasons I came back. I knew I could do well around here and here I am: I'm the winner.”

Davies started the day at 10-under-par with a one-stroke lead over Gustafson. The Swede drew level with Davies by birdying the first hole but Davies responded immediately with a birdie of her own on the very next to regain the advantage.

The turning point came on the 384-yard par-four fifth. Davies completed the hole in regulation, while Gustafson dropped two shots with a double-bogey to increase the gap to three strokes.

A birdie three on the par-four seventh sent Davies four-clear before a going one better than Gustafson's birdie on the ninth by eagling with a 20ft putt.

It was Davies' second consecutive eagle on that hole and it put her five shots clear at the turn.

The lead was reduced to three shots after the par-three tenth, which Davies bogeyed and Gustafson birdied.

It was to be the only difference between the two friends as they matched each other shot-for-shot on the next seven holes, with a pair of birdies on 12 th and 15 th .

Davies' victory was sealed on the final hole after Gustafson sent her second shot into the lake. Davies' chip to an inch of the pin ensured she finished in style with a birdie to the delight of the Austrian gallery, however there was little in the way of a celebration.

“The only time you really see people going mad is if it's their first tournament or they hole a putt to win a tournament. You feel a bit silly dancing round the green with a four shot win,” Davies said afterward.

Sunday's win helped her to forget missing the cut at the De Vere Ladies Scottish Open the previous week, although both tournaments featured weather delays.

The Austrian competition was reduced to three rounds after heavy rainfall on Thursday.

Davies began her first round on Friday poorly and was three-over after four holes, having made a triple bogey on the newly-reconstructed dogleg 13 th .

Despite that she said: “I couldn't have played much better this week. I was three-over after four holes in the tournament and I'm nineteen under since then over three rounds of golf so this was some good stuff this week.

“I played really well at The Solheim Cup. I dismissed Scotland last week as a bit of a one-off week where I missed the cut. I'm playing well.”

“It was hard work today. I played really well and I had to. Sophie was always going to shoot a decent round,” she said.

“Being paired with Sophie was the worst news I could have had. If there was one person I didn't want to be paired with, it was her. She hits it as far as anyone. I was nervous, no question.”

Davies picked up a cheque for €37,500, and will go head-to-head with Gustafson again next week at the inaugural Madrid Ladies Masters.

200  -  Laura Davies (ENG) 69 65 66

204  -  Sophie Gustafson (SWE) 69 66 69

209  -  Virginie Lagoutte-Clement (FRA) 71 69 69 , Kirsty Taylor (ENG) 72 68 69

210  -  Lora Fairclough (ENG) 72 70 68

211  -  Clare Queen (SCO) 73 68 70

212  -  Felicity Johnson (ENG) 74 67 71

213  -  Stefania Croce (ITA) 72 71 70 , Marta Prieto (ESP) 73 69 71 , Trish Johnson (ENG) 73 68 72 , Diana Luna (ITA) 68 69 76

214  -  Titiya Plucksataporn (THA) 73 70 71 , Martina Eberl (GER) 74 69 71 , Lisa Holm Sorensen (DEN) 70 72 72 , Stephanie Arricau (FRA) 73 68 73 , Karen-Margrethe Juul (DEN) 70 70 74 , Elizabeth McKinnon (NZ) 70 70 74 , Danielle Masters (ENG) 72 68 74

215  -  Veronica Zorzi (ITA) 73 74 68 , Zuzana Kamasova (SVK) 77 69 69 , Lisa Jean (AUS) 72 73 70 , Laura Cabanillas (ESP) 73 72 70 , Natalie Claire Booth (ENG) 70 74 71 , Georgina Simpson (ENG) 72 72 71 , Lisa Hall (ENG) 71 71 73

216  -  Ana Larraneta (ESP) 74 71 71 , Florence Luscher (SWI) 73 70 73 , Nora Angehrn (SWI) 74 69 73 , Mianne Bagger (DEN) 70 71 75

217  -  Melodie Bourdy (FRA) 78 68 71 , Jade Schaeffer (FRA) 71 74 72 , Rebecca Coakley (IRE) 72 73 72 , Sarah Heath (ENG) 73 71 73 , Marina Kotnik (Am) (AUT) 74 70 73 , Ursula Wikstrom (FIN) 70 72 75 , Anja Monke (GER) 75 67 75 , Fame More (ENG) 72 69 76 , Tania Elosegui (ESP) 70 71 76

218  -  Jenni Kuosa (FIN) 73 74 71 , Cassandra Kirkland (FRA) 74 72 72 , Margherita Rigon (ITA) 76 70 72 , Lee-Anne Pace (SA) 70 75 73 , Nicole Gergely (AUT) 72 73 73 , Stefanie Michl (AUT) 73 70 75

219  -  Frederique Seeholzer (SWI) 72 75 72 , Lill Kristin Saether (NOR) 70 76 73 , Rikke Rasmussen (DEN) 75 71 73 , Stefanie Endstrasser (Am) (AUT) 76 70 73 , Cecilie Lundgreen (NOR) 71 74 74 , Iben Tinning (DEN) 75 70 74

220  -  Ludivine Kreutz (FRA) 75 72 73 , Anne-Lise Caudal (FRA) 76 71 73 , Amanda Moltke-Leth (DEN) 74 72 74 , Hanna-Leena Salonen (FIN) 74 72 74 , Lynn Brooky (NZ) 72 74 74 , Ana B Sanchez (ESP) 75 71 74 , Sarah Nicholson (NZ) 67 75 78

221  -  Lara Tadiotto (BEL) 72 75 74

222  -  Barbara Paruscio (ITA) 74 73 75 , Sara Beautell (ESP) 75 72 75 , Lynn Kenny (SCO) 72 73 77 , Wendy Berger (AUS) 72 73 77

223  -  Jehanne Jail (FRA) 72 75 76 , Elisa Serramia (ESP) 73 73 77

226  -  Kirsty S Taylor (ENG) 73 73 80

 




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