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LET Access Series
Escuriola Wins WPGA International Challenge
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Natalia Escuriola kept her nerves in check and game together to ensure the WPGA International Challenge ended in a coronation and not a calamity.

The Spaniard’s wire to wire victory not only earned her €4,800 but also fired her up to second place in the LET Access Series and ensured she will compete on the Ladies European Tour next year.

There were moments in the final round of the tournament at Stoke by Nayland, however, when what appeared to be a canter to victory for the 21-year-old looked set to end in tears.

Not least during the first four holes when Olivia Cowan, who pipped Escuriola for pole position in the LET Access Series Order of Merit, threatened to take the Gainsborough Course at the Suffolk resort apart.

Cowan, a teenager with a British father, Scottish sounding name and BBC accent who represents Germany as a result of spending her 19 years there, began birdie, birdie, birdie, eagle.

All of which meant the meaty five stroke lead Escuriola enjoyed at the start of play was reduced to an anorexic one.

But just as Cowan was unable to maintain her high octane start and had to settle for a share of third place with France’s Ariane Provot after a two-under-par round of 70,  Escuriola remained unfazed. 

Although there was no repetition of the pyrotechnics of the first two days which left her on nine-under, a final round of one-over was enough to repel the challenges of Cowan, Norway’s Rachel Raastad and Provot.

Raastad finished second on six-under and when Escuriola desposited her tee shot at the par three 18th into a greenside bunker the possibility of the leader snatching defeat from the jaws of victory loomed large.

It was the third wayward approach or tee shot in as many holes but, once again, her short game came to the rescue as, showing no signs of nerves, she splashed out to three feet and holed the putt.

That display of sang froid, however, was at odds with her true feelings.

“I was a little bit nervous before the bunker shot,” she admitted. “And even more so with putt.

“And I was nervous over the finals holes when I saw several girls were playing good and me not so good.

“I didn’t play that well from the fairway to the green but my short game was good and that’s what got me through.”

WPGA International Challenge
WPGA International Challenge
Stoke by Nayland Hotel Golf & Spa, Stoke By Nayland, United Kingdom
28/09/17 - 30/09/17
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