Date: January 23, 2011

Hedwall outlasts 13 year old to win NSW Open

FINAL SCORES courtesy: ALPG Swede Caroline Headwall won her first professional tournament at her first attempt at the Bing Lee Samsung NSW Women&aposs Open Open. Another super Swede also won her first professional event in Australia, her name Annika Sorenstam. Sorenstam&aposs first professional victory came at the 1994 Women’s Australian Open when she captured the first of her 89 international titles at the Royal Adelaide Golf Club. Hedwall showed all the poise and determination of a Sorenstam when she birdied the 54th hole to finish at 11-under par and win the title by one stroke over New Zealand teenage sensation Lydia Ko. It looked like history would be made in international women’s professional golf when 13-year old New Zealander Ko took a one shot lead heading to the 18th tee after Hedwall bogied the 17th hole. Ko would have become the youngest winner of a professional women’s tournament on any of the five major tours worldwide. The 21-year old Hedwall built a three shot lead over her rivals midway through the final round however a bogey on 13th and a birdie by Ko on the 14th saw them draw level, where it stayed until Hedwall flew the green on 17 and failed get up and down. In a dramatic final hole the 21-year old Headwall stuck her shot into the par 3 18th to 14 feet, leaving herself a dangerously quick but relatively straight downhill putt. Ko, who had hit her tee shot to the back edge of the green, putted first and watched as it slid 3 feet past the cup. The typically cool, calm and collected Swede then faced the biggest putt of her professional career and to the delight of the large gallery, sunk her putt to put all the pressure on the 13-year old. Ko now had to sink her putt to force a play-off . She hit the putt with confidence but it went through the and the putt lipped out meaning the title was in the hands of Hedwall. After the dramatic finish, Hedwall said I&aposm just happy, it&aposs nice, it&aposs a great feeling. She had a good vibe heading into the 18th, I made birdie there yesterday so I knew it was possible. I had good yardage and I hit a good shot. I loved the moment. On the other side of the equation, Ko said after the round. I&aposm disappointed that I missed a short putt, but I think when I have those sorts of putts in the future I will get them in. I will treat it as a learning experience. The 13-year-old added Caroline deserved the win. South Australian Stephanie Na finished outright third at 8-under par after a final round 69. West Australian Kristie Smith fired the low round of the tournament, a six under 66 to jump up the leaderboard and finish in a tie for fourth at 7-under par with New South Wales Sarah Kemp (71), Queensland Katherine Hull (69) and American Ryann O Toole (67). Victorian National Squad member Breanna Elliot (70) finished outright eighth at 6-under par, while Queensland s Sarah-Jane Smith (73) was ninth a further shot behind, with New South Wales Rachel Bailey (69) rounding out the top 10. England s Laura Davies finished tied for 13th at 1-under par, while defending champion Sarah Oh finished tied 18th at even par.