amateur golf
amateur golf


Korea's Se Ri Pak came from five shots back at
the start of the day to win the 155,000 first prize at the Weetabix Women's British Open in glorious sunshine at Sunningdale GC. Pak fired a blistering
six under par 66 for an 11 under total, winning by two shots from compatriot Mi Hyun Kim.

Scotland's Catriona Matthew, the overnight leader who was hoping to become the first Scot to win a Women's Major championship, carded a disappointing final round one over par 73 to drop back into third place on eight under.

Matthew tied with fellow Scot Janice Moodie, Denmark's Iben Tinning and American Laura Diaz, who set a scorching pace earlier in the day, with birdies at the first six holes.

Five players tied on seven under par including Spain's Marina Arruti and Scotland's Kathryn Marshall, both carding a final round 67.

Pak made the perfect start with an eagle at the par five opening hole, hitting a three wood to ten feet, but eight pars followed to turn in 34. And while others made their moves, the 23-year-old from Daejeon plugged away until she got a lucky break at the 455 yard par five 10th.

A drive into the thick heather could have cost Pak her fourth win of the year, instead, she negotiated a seven wood into the greenside bunker and splashed out to five feet and rolled the putt home for birdie.

Despite three putting the 14th for a par, birdies from three and four feet on the 17th and 18th respectively - two of the most treacherous holes on the course - saw her post the lead five groups ahead of Matthew.

"Today, I just thought that I had nothing to lose and I was going to go for it as hard as I can," said Pak, now the winner of three Major championships.

"The last two days, I played really well but didn't score and I just thought 'this is the last day, last chance.

"I didn't realise I was top of the leaderboard and when I saw I was, I said 'forget it' because there were too many holes to go, just play.

"But that was a strong finish, I was having trouble with 17 all week, so to make birdie there, it made me happy. And on 18, I had a good up and down and
somehow, I made it!"

Kim, a little over five feet tall, had to battle around the front nine and looked like she would not be a factor, carding two birdies, a double bogey at the sixth and a bogey at the eighth. But the 24-year-old from Seoul rallied with birdies at the tenth and 14th in a flawless back nine, closing with a one under par 71 to make this the first one-two in a Major championship from Korean players.

"I was hoping to win," said Kim, who picked up 100,000 for her efforts. "I wanted to win, but as I didn't, it is nice that another player from Korea could win, the Korea are very proud."

Matthew, who squandered a five shot lead halfway through Saturday's torrential conditions, made amends with birdies at the first two holes. But the 31-year-old from North Berwick, looking to become the first home winner since Penny Grice-Whittaker in 1991, carded consecutive bogeys at the fifth and sixth to undo the hard work.

Despite three putting the 10th for par, a birdie at the par five 14th, two putting from the fringe, gave her hope. But a bunkered tee shot at the 215 yard par three 15th - missing the two foot putt for par after playing an excellent splash shot - signalled the end of her dream.

Matthew closed with a one over par 73 and was bitterly disappointed with the
outcome, especially as the three-putt bogey at the final hole cost her 33,187.50, as she would have shared second place.

"I am obviously disappointed," said Matthew, "The finish yesterday was one
of those things, obviously it was a little unlucky, but I missed it (the bad weather) on Thursday so there is nothing you can do about that.

"Tomorrow, it will have been a good week," she reflected. "I had a chance to
win and the more times you are up there, you are going to win the odd one."

Moodie also birdied the opening two holes, and like her compatriot, dropped
consecutive shots to turn in 36. A birdie at the 11th brought her back into contention on nine under par, but nothing would drop to move her closer to Pak.

Like Matthew, a bogey at the 17th proved costly as she closed with a level par 72.

"I am happy with the way I played, a couple of more putts could have dropped
and it might have been different. But Se Ri played some good golf out there," said Moodie.

"I think I have done well over the week, obviously you are disappointed that you didn't win because it was in my reach. But I am just going to go away with a good week and a good feeling."

Diaz set the course alight early on. The 26-year-old from New York, who was
1998 Rookie of the Year on the Evian Tour, started the day at three under par, but with birdies at all six of her opening holes, she turned in a blistering 30, and added another birdie at the par five 10th to tie the lead.

But the player many regard as the best player never to have won a tournament
on the LPGA Tour, having finished runner up four times so far since turning professional in 1999, dropped shots at the 14th and 16th to move back into
the pack.

"I was just trying to go as low as I could," said Diaz, thinking about her electrifying start to the round. "I hadn't been putting very well this week and it felt good to have some putts drop right away.

"Unfortunately, in the middle of the round I made two bogeys and I didn't get the putt to the hole at the last, but eight under at the British, pretty happy with that."

And Denmark's Iben Tinning finished in her highest spot on Tour this year with a final round 68 to win the biggest cheque of her career, 51,812.

With three consecutive birdies in her opening holes, the 27-year-old from Copenhagen rose up the field and turned in 32, thanks to further birdies at the sixth and ninth.

A level par back nine was enough to see her home and proved to herself that
she can compete with the best players in the World.

Tinning, whose best finish this year was a tie for fifth in the La Perla Italian Open, was hoping for a playoff when she posted before Pak. But the Danish number one was happy with her final position.

"I am so happy with that, it was a really good 68!" said Tinning. "That meant a lot to me."

Despite having six players in the top twelve at the start of play, the rest of the British contingent could not make any headway.

England's Laura Davies came unstuck at the opening hole when a caddie left a
rake halfway out of the bunker. Davies' second shot to the green ricocheted of the rake and into an awkward lie on top of the bunker. She attempted to play the shot, but double hit it, costing her a one shot penalty.

Her three over 76 effectively ended her dreams of entering the LPGA Hall of Fame. Had she won, she would have got the two points needed for qualification.

Fellow Solheim Cup star Trish Johnson fell to a final round 75 and Chorley's Lora Fairclough crashed to a 77, including a double bogey at the 14th.

But good news from the Amateur scene as Wheatley's Rebecca Hudson won the
Smyth Salver for the lowest amateur with a final total of one under par.


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