Date: February 15, 2009
Author: Angus Morgan at Metropolitan GC, Sportal

Davies wins Open

Veteran Briton Laura Davies has claimed a second Australian Open title after a sensational day of see-sawing fortunes at Metropolitan Golf Club in Melbourne. In the clubhouse on 285, seven-under, after her final round 68, Davies watched as nearest rival Tania Elosegui of Spain imploded with a double-bogey six on the 72nd hole which she needed only to par to win. The Spaniard, who had played with real composure throughout her round to accumulate six birdies and just the one dropped shot to that point, put her eight-iron approach into the front left bunker. She splashed out to six metres, pushed her putt for the win a metre past the hole then missed the return putt for bogey that would have forced a play-off. Elosegui said later she was under the mistaken impression that Davies was a shot further in front, and hadn&apost realised that her bogey putt was &aposlive&apos. Elosegui finished alone in second place on six-under, one shot clear of Davies&apos compatriot Melissa Reid and South Korean pair Lee Chang-He, the third-round leader, and Choi He-Young of South Korea who missed an outside chance to force a play-off when she, like Elosegui, three-putted the last. Titleholder Karrie Webb (74) finished in a tie for sixth with fellow Australian and the winner of last week&aposs Australian Ladies Masters, Katherine Hull. Davies&apos ambush effectively began on Saturday when she carded a 67, the round of the day, to haul herself from among the wannabees tied for 46th to a spot in the top 10. That provided the launching pad for a sensational front nine on Sunday. She was out in 34 and picked up another shot at the 10th. The critical holes, however, were the back-to-back par fives at 14 and 15 which she eagled and birdied to open up a two-shot lead. The 475-metre 14th was classic Davies – a monster drive downwind, long iron to 15 metres, then a &aposbomb&apos of a putt that was never going to miss. Davies made up for a bogey at 16 where she hit from one bunker into another by sinking a six-metre putt for birdie at the next accompanied by a pump of the fist. But there was to be another twist with a bogey at the last which cut her lead to just one shot and opened the door for Elosegui. At various stages on Sunday, six different players – Davies, Elosegui, Reid, Choi, Lee and American Beth Allen – either led outright or jointly. Starting the day just two off the pace, Webb would have fancied herself to be right in the finish, but while those around her advanced the four-time champ was stuck in a rut. A run of pars was the best Webb could manage until the 175-metre par three seventh where she double-bogeyed. If her challenge didn&apost effectively end there, it did two holes later when she bogeyed to be out in 40. At even par and seven behind the leaders, she&aposd lost all momentum. A belated birdie at the 475-metre par-five 14th was Webb&aposs first since the eighth hole on Saturday. Reid, the European Tour rookie of the year last season and third in last year&aposs Open at Kingston Heath, holed a couple of huge putts on her front nine. Out in 33, she peaked at six-under which gave her a share of the lead briefly with Choi and Elosegui but was unable to keep it going. Twenty-six-year-old Western Australian Dana Lacey scored the only hole-in-one at this year&aposs event at the 140-metre par-three second hole earlier in the day. Conditions at Metro were sunny and the prevailing south-easterly kicked-in as forecast during the afternoon, much as it did over the previous three rounds. The haze from bushfires in rural areas surrounding Melbourne was apparent but not as heavy as on Saturday.