Date: April 18, 2011
Author: Paul Melville

LET – SWEDEN DEFEND EURO CUP TITLE

(18 April 2011 – Alicante, Spain)

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Anna Nordqvist and Sophie Gustafson retained the European Nations Cup for Sweden with a three stroke victory over England and Germany at La Sella Resort in Spain on Sunday.
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rnThe Swedes began the final round with a three stroke advantage and finished with a 4-under par 68 for a total of 21-under par 267, the same score with which they ended up in a playoff with Australia 12 months earlier.
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rnThe star-studded duo started the final round with a birdie, and were out in 1-under par 35. When Nordqvist holed a six footer on the 9th hole for birdie, it triggered chants of ‘Sverige, Sverige, Sverige’ from the large Swedish contingent in the gallery.
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rnThe birdie on the 9th took them back to a one-shot advantage over England but the Swedes took control with four birdies and just one dropped shot on the back nine. In fact they only dropped two shots for the whole week, both in the last round.
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rn“It was absolutely fantastic. I couldn’t be happier, standing here,” Nordqvist told reporters, “We had a fun team this week and it was exciting to pull out some great golf out there, so we’re really happy.”
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rnNordqvist rolled in the winning birdie putt after Gustafson chipped to three feet on the 18th green in front of a bank of waving Swedish flags. “It means a lot having so many Swedes around here cheering us on. They had this birdie song today so you want to laugh every time they did it. They made a big effort to come here and there were a lot of people by the 18th green so it was very exciting,” Nordqvist said.
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rnThe in-form English pair of Laura Davies and Melissa Reid momentarily tied for the lead through 8 holes after mixing six birdies with one bogey on the front nine. However, they stalled on the back nine until Davies holed a massive eagle putt from across the green at the last, to finish with a final round of 66.
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rnDavies commented, “I must admit, when we made the turn and Mel made that great putt on nine, I thought, ‘We’re in here,’ I really thought we were going to have a strong chance but we’ve not had one good back nine the whole week. Again, apart from that one good putt on the 18th we struggled on the back nine, so we fizzled out a little bit, but it was good fun, I enjoyed it. We wanted to beat the Welsh more than anything else and I knew they were making a birdie so I had to finish strong and get that one to the hole.”
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rnReid added, “We just didn’t hole anything all week. That was the first putt we holed from some distance on the 18th, which was nice, but it’s such a fun week and an eagle to finish was nice.”
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rnBy contrast, the German pair of Anja Monke and Caroline Masson was out in 33 but picked up the pace with four birdies on the back nine to come home in 32. Masson said, “It was a nice round again, seven under. I think that format fits us pretty well. We played good and we had a lot of fun out there so it was a nice day. It was a good week for us and I think we are quite happy with that result.”
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rnMonke added, “We will practise for the best ball a little bit for next year and then I think we can give it a go.”
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rnWales finished one shot back in fourth on a total of 17-under par after a final round of 68 by Becky Brewerton and Lydia Hall, while the Australian pair of Karen Lunn and Katherine Hull, who had set the pace with a 65 on day one, charged up the leader board with a final round 66 to finish five shots off the paced in fifth on a total of 16-under par.