Marjet van der Graaff Photo: Fernando Herranz
Marjet Van der Graaff of the Netherlands held her overnight lead to earn a one stroke victory at the Banesto Tour Zaragoza at Club de Golf la Peñaza.
The 29-year-old from Rotterdam shot a third round of 71 to end at five under par, one ahead of Spanish rookie Carlota Ciganda from Pamplona, who had a best-of-day 67 and was on the verge of forcing a play-off before finally Van der Graaff held her nerve.
Belgium’s Laurence Herman finished a stroke further back in third, while Norway’s Lene Krog and Australian Tamara Johns tied for fourth on two under par.
Stephanie Kirchmayr of Germany finished alone in fifth place on one under, while three players shared seventh place: Sweden’s Sarah Wikstrom, Danielle McVeigh of Northern Ireland and Dutchwoman Chrisje de Vries.
Van der Graaff previously tasted Spanish success when she and compatriot Christel Boeljon won the European Nations Cup in Alicante as a team in 2009, but this was her first solo victory in five years on tour.
“The first win on my own!” said Van der Graaff. “I started playing great and had four birdies in five holes and one more at the 10th: I did all the work in those holes. I three putted 12 and my short game let me down; then more bogeys on 13, 15 and 17. I was minus five and then at the 17th leader board I saw Carlota with four under and knew I had to make par. I played safe: 6 iron, wedge, just off the green pin high, and holed the two putts I needed to win.”
Ciganda, whose family came to watch the final round, had another piece of luggage to take home: her prize of a ham for being the best Spanish competitor. “This is what I love most in the world!” she exclaimed after being told the news.
Ciganda commented on her round: “I played much better today. It could have been lower but I’m very happy with five under without a bogey. I managed to score in the first round but lost the tournament yesterday with a 73. I hit it very close today: on the fifth hole, I putted for eagle and made birdie; on the sixth I hit a very good 8-iron stone dead; at the 11th, I hit to six feet; then at the 13th, a 52º from 80 metres, stone dead. On the 18th, I played aggressive, went for the flag and finished with another birdie. I’m driving the ball well but need to work more on my approach shots and putts.”
Club de Golf la Peñaza received great praise from the players, despite strong winds on the first day, which subsided later in the week.
The next LET Access Series event will be the Ljungbyhed Park PGA Ladies Open at Ljungbyhed Golf Club in Sweden from 15-17 May.