01 Mar 2020 | Professional golf |
Swede shines when it matters most
By Golf NSW
In the end, it was one magical five-iron that decided the Women’s NSW Open at Dubbo Golf Club.
That was the club Julia Engstrom hit on the 176m par-three final hole - and it did everything but go in to close out her maiden Ladies European Tour victory.
The 18-year-old Swede stood on the tee of 72nd hole tied at 13 under with overnight leader Manon De Roey after a rollercoaster final round.
The Belgian had a five-shot cushion to start the day, but felt the pressure late with dropped shots at both the 16th and 17th to relinquish the outright lead for the first time since Friday afternoon.
Engstrom hit first and had the large crowd in raptures as her ball landed 6m short of the hole, then curled around the sloping green to roll within centimetres of the cup.
It was a tough act for De Roey to follow and she promptly pulled her tee shot wide of the green, then flubbed her chip to hand the title to Engstrom.
"I don’t think I understand it yet," Engstrom said immediately after signing her card. "It’s been a great week and I’m just thrilled."
Engstrom said her final tee shot was revenge for three previous bogeys on the home hole. "I’ve bogeyed 18 all three rounds until now, so I was like, ‘This time I’m not going to bogey it', and I hit a great shot," she said.
"I didn’t even know how close it was until I saw the reaction of the crowd and it was a great finish to a great week."
Engstrom said she knew things were getting tight, but did her best to maintain a personal focus.
"I was trying not to focus on what she did," she said of playing partner De Roey.
"And I didn’t know what the others were doing either, so I was just trying to play as good as I could.
"I’ve been close (to winning) a few times now and I’ve been waiting for it, but you never know if it’s going to happen or not."
Engstrom finished the week at 14 under, with De Roey outright second at 12 under. Swede Camilla Lennarth was alone in third at 11 under with India’s Aditi Ashok and Thai teen sensation Atthaya Thitikul sharing fourth at 10 under.
Soo Jin Lee was the leading Australian at four under and tied for ninth, while Grace Kim took low amateur honours, finishing in a tie for 21st at two over.
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