Holly Clyburn (Photo: DogLeg Media)
England’s Holly Clyburn won the Banesto Tour Valencia on the second play-off hole against Spain’s Carmen Alonso at GC Escorpion on Saturday.
Four strokes separated Alonso and Clyburn at the start of the day, with Clyburn leading at 6 under par. The Spaniard started with a birdie, her only bogey of the round coming at the 334 yd par 4 11th hole. Alonso finished with a birdie on the 18th, holing a 4 metre putt to become the clubhouse leader at 3 under par. Clyburn, two groups behind Alonso, dropped a shot on the 336 yd par 4 second hole, picking up a birdie on the 4th before dropping 5 shots in the next three holes with double bogeys on both the 7th and 8th holes. Clyburn recovered well, playing the back nine in 2 under par and holing a crucial birdie putt on the 18th, to also finish at 3 under par and force a play-off with Alonso.
Both players made pars on the first play-off hole, the 18th. It was Alonso who would bogey the same hole on the second play-off hole, to hand the Englishwoman her first victory in only her second professional event. “I am over the moon, I cannot believe that I have won. I am thrilled! This victory means a lot to me, and to my family. Today’s round has been very much up & down, the 7th and 8th were very bad holes. Even though I lost five shots in three holes, I managed to stay calm and swing well. I was very patient and went one shot at the time. Having Kelly Tidy caddying for me has been great, she has really helped me to stay calm. On the 9th tee, the British Open experience came to my mind: I was 8 over in eight holes but finished 1 under the back nine to get into the top 25. I played very consistent after the 9th. I knew I had to birdie the 18th to get into the play-off and I did it!”
Carmen Alonso was philosophical about losing the play-off. “Even though I have not won, I am happy because I kept on with my game plan. I thought it would be great if I win but if I don’t, I will shake hands and congratulate whoever wins. I know I am working hard and doing the right things, and the hard work is paying off.”
The Netherlands' Marjet Van Der Graaff finished in 3rd place at 2 under par, with Julie Tvede and Eleanor Givens tied for 4th, a further shot back at 1 under par.
Scotland’s Pamela Pretswell, although unable to compete this week due to illness, claimed the LET Access Series Order of Merit title and both France’s Marion Ricordeau and Norway’s Cecilie Lundgreen, along with Pretswell, secured their Ladies European Tour cards for the 2013 season.