World No.7 Karrie Webb claimed her third victory of the season at the ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters with a brilliant final round of 65 at Buckinghamshire Golf Club in Denham, England.
The seven-time Major winner came from three strokes behind the overnight leaders to finish one ahead of South African Ashleigh Simon.
Having signed for a three-round total of 200, 16-under-par, Webb had a nervous wait in the clubhouse to determine whether Simon or Caroline Masson could birdie the last to tie and force a play-off.
However, having hit the hole with her second shot from a bunker, Masson ended with a bogey and Simon’s birdie putt drifted low of the hole, so handing the 38-year-old Australian the win and, with it, a cheque for 60,000 euro. In addition to the first prize cheque, Webb was also given a 16 carat diamond bracelet courtesy of Buckinghamshire Golf Club member Laurence Blunt.
Webb’s win is the ideal warm-up for the coming week’s Ricoh Women’s British Open, on the Old Course at St Andrews, where she will attempt to claim the title for the fourth time.
Webb said: “I came over here to get some tournament rounds under my belt, get some confidence going, get into the time zone and British conditions. To win is just the icing on the cake.
“I’m very happy with how I played this week and I got more and more confident on the course as the week went on.
“I hadn’t played the par fives particularly well this week but today I played them well with two eagles. It’s a great boost when conditions are tough.”
Simon refused to be downhearted after coming close to earning a third Ladies European Tour title and was happy to have booked her place in the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
“I can’t be disappointed, I played really well today,” Simon said. “Conditions were very tough and for Karrie to shoot 65, I take my hat off to her.
“I don’t think I could have played any better. I hit some great shots. The pins were tucked on slopes today that you just couldn’t get to, so I’m very pleased and now I’m into the British Open and don’t have to qualify.”
Masson was also pleased with her final round 70 and said: “It doesn’t feel like I lost it; it feels like Karrie won it and I think seven-under is a great score in the last round. I gave my best and did all I could.”
Webb made her intentions clear from the outset with a birdie on the first hole. Playing in blustery, but sunny conditions, she tied for the lead at 13-under after further birdies on the third, sixth and seventh holes.
She grabbed a two shot lead after going out in 30, with a simple eagle on the ninth hole.
She then made a second eagle on hole 14 after using a rescue club to hit the ball pin high, 30 feet left of the hole.
The only blemish of the day came on 16. However, after playing partner Christina Kim holed in one at the last, resulting in a loud roar from the packed gallery, she refocused and two-putted for a par.
Kim shared fourth spot with Germany’s Sandra Gal, while Klara Spilkova and Line Vedel tied for sixth.
England’s Charley Hull excited the galleries with an equally impressive eagle on 17, after driving the green and knocking in a putt from 12 feet. She was the leading British player in a share of ninth place.