Spain's Beatriz Recari claims maiden victory in play-off at Finnair Masters
Article Courtesy of Ladies European Tour
(Helsinki, Finland - Sunday 30th August 2009) - Spain's Beatriz Recari holed a four-iron shot from 161 metres in a play-off to secure her maiden Ladies European Tour title at the Finnair Masters in Finland.
Recari holed the shot of her life from the fairway on the first hole of sudden death. It was the first eagle all week on the tough 347 metre par-four 18th at Helsinki Golf Club.
The ball pitched five metres short and rolled straight into the hole before Recari and her caddie, Andreas Thorp, who is also her boyfriend, both leapt into the air. Recari then walked up to the 18th green to a rapturous welcome.
"That was definitely the shot of my life," she said, "One to talk about to the grandchildren."
The 22-year-old from Pamplona led over all three rounds of the tournament, where she had recorded a career best tie for third in 2008; her only official top ten finish in four seasons on tour. She had fired opening rounds of 65 and a course record 64, to take a five stroke lead into the final day.
She had to sink a clutch par putt from five feet in regulation play to match Tinning, who also made four at the hole. Both players totalled 11-under-par. Tinning fired a three-under 68 to Recari's 73, but despite a final round charge, the 35-year-old from Copenhagen was unable to equal Recari's feat in the play-off.
Recari paid tribute to her Norwegian caddie, who convinced her to stick with the four-iron in the play-off, the same club that she had used in regulation play, but had not struck as sweetly. The pair first worked together at the Finnair Masters last year.
"To be honest, I owe a lot to my caddie because I hit a four-iron in the round and it was so short so I told him, "hybrid." He said, "We'll stick to the club," and it went in, so I owe him some percentage for that," she said. "I was talking to him and he was telling me to just enjoy and have fun. I visualised the shot and he chose the club. It was the only iron I hit well all day."
Wales' Becky Brewerton (71) had matched Recari's score of 11-under after playing the front nine in four-under 30, however she double-bogeyed the 10th hole just before play was suspended at 1.20pm due to electrical storms in the area. After a 50 minute delay, Recari went back to the 11th hole with a two stroke lead over Tinning, who then birdied the 12th. When Recari dropped a shot at the 15th, the Dane caught up with the Spaniard.
"It was a different situation for me. I was leading by five shots and Iben was playing very strongly," Recari said. "She started very strong, putting it close to the pin but missing a couple of putts. Overall she played very well. I was saving pars all day and then I saved a par for the play-off on 18 and then it went great in the play-off.
"I was struggling a bit more than the first two days. It's my first win and I made it the tough way with a play-off on a difficult hole because it was playing very long: just super. I love Finland."
European Solheim Cup player Brewerton shared third on seven-under with the 2008 champion Minea Blomqvist from Finland (68), Norway's Marianne Skarpnord (71) and Sweden's Johanna Westerberg (72).
Brewerton said: "I was tied for the lead. I saw a board after nine; I don't know really what happened after that. It felt like somebody had just taken my arms away and given me a new set that didn't belong to me. I just had four or five holes where I hit a few wild shots. My chipping and bunkers went a bit funny."
Australian Nikki Garrett (67) tied for seventh with the promising South Korean amateur Je-Yoon Yang (69) while sharing ninth were England's Elizabeth Bennett (69), Sweden's Maria Boden (69) and Frenchwomen Caroline Afonso and Virginie-Lagoutte Clement, the 2006 event winner.
The next tournament on the Ladies European Tour is the UNIQA Ladies Golf Open presented by Raiffeisen in Austria from 10-13 September.