Date: October 24, 2011
Author: Australian Ladies Professional Golf

LET – BONDAD CLAIMS MAIDEN PRO TITLE

(24 October 2011 – Hainan, China)

rn

Australian Frances Bondad came from two strokes behind overnight leader Pan Yan Hong to lift her maiden trophy as a professional at the Sanya Ladies Open in Hainan, China. A final hole birdie saw her leapfrog Scotland’s Vikki Laing, who found herself with a difficult bunker shot. Hong and South Africa’s Ashleigh Simon finished three shots of the pace in a share for third.
rn
rnBondad, a 23-year-old from Greystanes in NSW fired rounds of 68, 70 and a bogey-free final round of 67 to earn a one stroke victory at 205, 11-under par for the tournament. The win saw her collect a first prize cheque for €30,000 and a three year exemption to the Ladies European Tour.
rn
rn“It feels unreal,” said Bondad, grinning ear to ear after her friends on tour soaked her with bottles of water.  “It hasn’t hit me yet.
rn
rnBondad began final round with eight straight pars before the momentum in her round swung after holing a 35-foot putt for an eagle three on the ninth green. With her sights now set firmly on the title, she holed a 15 footer for birdie at the par-four 12th then struck a three-wood to the front of the 13th green from 180 metres and two putted for birdie to tie for the lead with Laing on 10-under par.
rn
rnLaing moved a stroke ahead when she sank a long birdie putt at the 14th and held a one stroke lead standing on the 18th tee. However, her second shot found the face of the greenside trap and with a tricky stance above a plugged ball she failed to extricate her ball from the bunker at the first attempt.
rn
rnLaing having played four, sank a putt from 12-feet to just drop one stroke and it was up to the Australian to determine whether a playoff would be needed. Bondad knew what she had to do and she broke into a wide smile as she rolled in her putt from eight feet for the victory.
rn
rn“I was hitting it close and I just wasn’t making any putts and when that eagle putt went in at the ninth, that kept me going.” she said.
rn
rn“On twelve I made a really good birdie putt from 15 foot. Then on 13, I had 205 metres to the pin and 186 to the front and I just went straight over the water.”
rn
rnBondad, whose previous best finish in four seasons on the Ladies European Tour was a tie for second at the 2010 Open de Espana Femenino, said that a course of hypnotherapy had been instrumental to her victory. Ranked 65th on the LET’s Henderson Money List, she felt she was struggling and recently went in search of something different to turn her game around.
rn
rn“I got hypnotised two weeks ago and he spoke to my subconscious mind and got rid of my bad past. I’ve just been taking this herbal medicine and found out a few things about myself. I’ve sorted that out and it’s unbelievable the way it’s changed me.
rn
rn“I’ve had a really poor season so I was just thinking to myself, ‘I need to find some help,’ so I saw this guy. Every session, I find new things about myself, so it’s been really good
,” she said.
rn
rnLaing was understandably disappointed with her result, which was her third runner-up finish inside two seasons on the LET, but she was pleased with her final round of 68.
rn
rn“I’m really happy with my round. I’d have taken four under, standing on the first tee, so other than that, I played pretty well today,” said the 30-year-old. “I just missed it a little bit right on 18 and got unlucky with the bunker: it plugged and was up against the face.
rn
rnThe good news continued for Australian fans with Stacey Keating posting another Top-10 finish, winding up in a tie for 5th at 6-under par. She was right in the hunt with nine holes to play but couldn’t find the back-nine birdies to stick with the leaders. She will better for the experience when next in contention. Karen Lunn (T13), Bree Arthur (T19), Nikki Garrett (T25) and Rebecca Codd (T38) all figured in the money in what was a good tournament all round for the ALPG Members.