Ursula Wikstrom (FIN), Nina Pegova (RUS) and Anna Backman (FIN) Photo credit: Janne Tarmio
Russia’s Nina Pegova won her maiden LETAS Series crown with a four-shot victory at the Messila Golf Club in Lahti. Having led the tournament from start to finish, the 25-year-old broke clear of the chasing pack with a final round of 70, two-under-par for the day, to close at –7 for the tournament.
Pegova’s closest challengers were Finnish pair Ursula Wikstrom and amateur Anna Backman. Wikstrom carded a four-under 68, the joint lowest score on the course, to climb from 14th into a share for second. At the same event in 2016, local favourite Backman finished in a tie for seventh, and was overjoyed to improve on her best finish in her home event, joining compatriot Wikstrom at –3.
Michaela Finn and Gudrun Bjorgvinsdottir - the pair tied for second position going into the final day’s play - both had days to forget. A triple bogey on the seventh cost Finn dearly. The Swede was firmly in the running after a solid start but a costly error at the 357-yard par-4 left her with too much work to do from there, as she finished tied for eighth overall.
Iceland’s Bjorgvinsdottir had similar struggles on the Lahti course, finishing also with a +3 round of 75. Four bogeys on the front nine left the Icelander out of the running early on as leader Pegova continued to score well.
Pegova has consistently shown she has the measure of the greens at the Mesilla course and the final round was more of the same. The Moscow-native holed out for a total of four birdies, along with two bogeys, to finish two-under for the day and complete a dominant performance across the three-day event.
Reflecting on her round, the Russian found the Viaplay Ladies Finnish Open to be the perfect cocktail of conditions to allow her game to flourish:
“The competition was very well organized and the course in very good condition; my long game was good and scoring clubs accurate (as a result).”
Compared to many on the tour, Pegova was late to take up the game at the age of 13, but the 25-year-old has not looked back since and treats the game with the utmost professionalism which the Russian attributes her current success to:
“I was busy with tennis and swimming before taking up golf at the age of 13. And now, I’ve got a Florida based team giving support, along with my Russian coach.”
Pegova’s victory moves her up to sixth in the Race to La Largue and the players will be increasingly aware of securing vital points as the season reaches the busy summer period. Next week, the LET Access Series heads to Scandinavian neighbours Sweden for the Skafto Open with a 50,000 Euro prize fund and vital points in the Race to La Largue up for grabs.