Date: September 24, 2012
Author: Australian Ladies Professional Golf

Keating Wins Spanish Open in Playoff

 

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(Tenerife, Spain – 23 September, 2012)
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Stacey Keating has claimed her maiden victory on the Ladies European Tour after defeating a German Caroline Masson on the first hole of a sudden playoff for the Tenerife Open de Espana Feminino Sunday.

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Keating holed a five foot birdie putt on the par 5 18th hole to claim victory after both players had finished 72 holes tied at 9 under par, one stroke clear of England’s Trish Johnson, and two ahead of first round leader Nikki Garrett.

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Starting the final round one shot behind Masson, Keating drew level after two holes and set up what would become a head to head battle with Masson as the pair exchanged the lead on no fewer than four occasions throughout the final round.

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Playing in hot and windy conditions which had persisted all week, Masson, who won the South African Open in July, broke the back nine deadlock after a birdie at the par five 16th only to relinquish the advantage with a bogey at the next hole. Both players then set up birdie opportunities at the final hole but neither managed to sink the winning putt, forcing extra time with the playoff returning to the 452 metre par 5 18th.

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On the first playoff hole, the German made a crucial mistake by hitting her second shot into a water hazard. She managed to advance her third shot from the hazard to the rough short of the green whilst Keating had played the hole in regulation, playing a magnificent approach shot to five feet. She executed the putt perfectly and fist pumped the air in celebration of her first tournament title. 

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“It was a tough day out there and Caroline and I both played well. It was nice to take it to a play-off and then get over the line,” said Keating, 26, from Cressy in Victoria.  

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“All day it was very close and Caroline holed some putts when she needed to so it was nice and it’s always nice to birdie the play-off hole,” said Keating, in her second year as a professional.

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She added that the victory would make amends for the massive disappointment of the previous week at the Ricoh Women’s British Open, where she was disqualified for signing for an incorrect score when lying in a tie for 32nd place.

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“I’ve probably had the worst week of my life and the best week of my life in two weeks. It was very disappointing last week but this makes up for it, I can tell you. It will be all forgotten, last week,” she said, paying tribute to her caddie, Darren Peters, who is also her boyfriend and the support of her mentors, Karrie Webb and Karen Lunn. 

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Keating takes home the winners cheque of 52,500 Euros ($65,000) and jumps into 9th place on the LET Order of Merit.

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Nikki Garrett who opened the tournament with a first round 8 under par 64, bounced back from two over par rounds with a final round 2 under par 70, to finish in 4th place. 

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Of the other Australians in the field, Rebecca Artis closed with a 69 for T16; Rachel Bailey T39; Frances Bondad 48th; Bree Arthur T49.

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