Melbourne, Australia - Sunday 15th February 2009 - England's Laura Davies won her second Australian Open after a dramatic final day at Metropolitan Golf Club in Melbourne.
Davies, who last won the title in 2004 at Concorde Golf Club, finished with a five-under-par 68, which was the best round of the day. She closed on a four-round total of seven-under-par, one stroke ahead of Spain's Tania Elosegui.
Davies, who started the final round three shots behind the leader, Lee Chang-Hee, had posted her score as Elosegui stood on the 18th tee with a one stroke lead on eight-under-par.
Elosegui, a third year professional yet to win on the Ladies European Tour, thought that she needed a birdie to win. With that in mind, she played her third shot from the bunker short of the green 20 feet shy of the flag and rammed her first putt four feet past the hole. The return putt slipped by and she effectively handed Davies her 72nd career title and an AUD$75,000 first prize.
Davies couldn't believe her luck. "This has made the whole trip absolutely fantastic. I've enjoyed it but golf wise it was a struggle up until the last putt, which actually missed. Luckily I tapped the other one in. At the time I thought I'd blown it and Tania would win but I'm pretty happy now," she said.
Davies was 11 shots back going into the weekend after opening rounds of 74 and 76 but she made a tremendous charge up the leader board with a six-under 67 on Saturday.
"When I walked off the course on Friday I was very disappointed and I thought I was out of it. On a normal course you would say that was too far back but on a course like this it wasn't too far. I'm really pleased. That's what makes this such a good win, is because it's such a good course," she said.
She began her final round attack with birdies at the first, sixth and eighth holes. An impressive birdie at the tough par-four 10th took her to within a stroke of the next but she bogeyed the next.
A monster eagle putt from the front of the green at the par five 14th followed by a birdie at the 15th, gave her two stroke advantage with three holes to play.
However after she bogeyed the 16th and Elosegui birdied the par-five 15th, they were tied on seven-under-par. Davies birdied the 17th but hit a poor tee shot at the 18th before leaving her second shot 20 yards short of the green. A chip and two putts left her at seven-under-par and due to a late charge by the two Korean players she could not relax until the very end.
"I never imagined she'd three-putt it. If I had been in that situation I might not have been so bold but she's young and that's what young players do. Luckily for me and unluckily for her she missed the one coming back so that was a bit of a surprise," added Davies, who is embraced by Australians as one of their own.
At the start of the week she was unanimously voted in as an honorary member of the ALPG Tour for her support of Australian women's golf.
"If I ever had to live anywhere else than England, it would be Australia. I love everything about this country - except the spiders," she said.
England's Melissa Reid, who finished third at last year's Australian Open at nearby Kingston Heath, continued her love affair with Australia's sand belt courses by finishing tied for third with South Koreans Choi He Yong and Lee Chang-Hee on five-under-par.
Defending champion Karrie Webb finished tied for sixth on two-under with fellow Australian Katherine Hull, who won the ANZ Ladies Masters the previous week.
Australia's Nikki Campbell, England's Lisa Hall, Norway's Marianne Skarpnord, South Korean Kim Hye Youn and Scotland's Clare Queen tied for eighth place on one-under-par.
The Ladies European Tour resumes in April for the Comunitat Valencia European Nations Cup at La Sella Resort in Spain before the first full field event of the European leg of events, the Turkish Ladies Open at National Golf Club in Belek, Antalya, from 7-10 May.