A Dutch win. A Spanish miss. A French return.
Anne Van Dam from the Netherlands successfully wrapped up 2018 on the Ladies European Tour by claiming her second victory on Spanish soil this season at the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España Femenino.
The powerful hitter, who won the Mediterranean Ladies Open in Spain two months ago, fired rounds of 68, 67, 66 and 70 for 13-under-par at La Quinta Golf Resort in Benahavís, Marbella.
She powered into a four-stroke lead following the completion of the third round on Sunday morning, but then, in the final round, the 2016 and 2017 champion, Azahara Muñoz, did her best to catch her, closing the gap to two strokes, but a double bogey at the short 16th, where she lost her ball down a rocky slope beyond the green, halted her challenge. She took second place at 10-under-par after a final round 69, the 2019 European Solheim Cup captain Katriona Matthew finishing four strokes further back.
Young talented French Camille Chevalier, winner of the 2017 Indian Open, probably lost her chances with her 2-over-par first round. She has to work her putting, but the good news are that seem to have a far better positive mind on the course. ” I play by sensation, not worrying about adding birdies and getting pissed of when that wasn’t happening”. 52nd on the final LET Order of Merit, she’s on the right path for the coming season, after finishing in a tie for 10th place with Georgia Hall Europe’s No 1 for the second consecutive time and the youngest ever to do so.
She said: “I don’t know what it is about Spain, but I like it. It was tricky weather all week and it was difficult approaching the greens, with the amount of spin I had. Today I hit a lot of good shots on the back nine that flew too far and had no spin, where I left myself some awkward putts. The conditions were not easy but I’m happy with how I played my way around the golf course.”
Van Dam became the only multiple tournament winner on the Ladies European Tour in 2018 and comparing her victories, she said: “I think I was a bit more nervous with this one, coming down the last few holes. In Spain a few months ago, everything was going well. Here, it was a bit more tricky so I had to work harder. It’s a different win, but as good, definitely.”
Azahara Muñoz, who had birdied the first two holes in the final round, only to drop shots at the fifth and ninth, made a charge, but it was a costly mistake at the 16th, where she hit a hybrid club long and then had to go back to the tee. “It’s a little bittersweet at the end, but I gave myself a chance” she said, “I wanted to make a birdie and I don’t regret it. I wanted to win here for the third time in a row, but it was still a really good week”.
The 2019 European Solheim Cup captain Matthew, who played with Van Dam for the final two rounds, will be keeping a close eye on all these Top 10 palyers over the next nine months leading up to the next contest at Gleneagles in Scotland. “Obviously there are always a couple of new faces in the team so if any of them play well next year they’ll be a great addition to the team”. BC/PPH