Date: February 02, 2009

Nocera masters wind in NZ

source: Women&aposs NZ Open What was shaping as a tight finish with the top seven players separated by no more than four shots suddenly turned into a one-horse race as only Frenchwoman Gwladys Nocera withstood the buffeting wind and sharp drop in temperature. When the wind swept the course, the final threesome was playing the eighth hole and overnight leader, Sarah Oh, from New South Wales, still held a one-shot advantage over Nocera with world No. 26, Katherine Hull, from Queensland, three shots off the lead. But the dramatic swing in the weather completely changed the complexion of the championship. At the end of the 54 holes, Nocera, after a three-under 69, stood alone at eight-under par and the champion by six shots from a group of four. Hull was in that quartet at two-under as were fellow Australians, Nikki Garrett and Sarah Kemp, and Korean professional Bobea Park, who spent most of her amateur career in Auckland. The biggest casualty of the weather was 20-year-old Oh, who had been composed and confident for 45 holes then lost the plot when she lost the lead to Nocera for the first time after the Frenchwoman had her fifth birdie on the 10th. Oh was par for the day through 11 holes before bogeying the 12th. That preceded three successive double-bogeys and a bogey at 17, which resulted in a back nine of eight-over 44 and a round of eight-over 80, which dropped her back to a share of sixth. Nocera was perhaps the only player who welcomed the wind. “I like the wind, I enjoy it blowing because it pushes me to play even better. Sometimes I play too easy and make stupid mistakes and it (wind) makes me concentrate. LEADERBOARD 1 NOCERA, Gwladys -8 T2 PARK, Bobea -2 T2 HULL, Katherine -2 T2 GARRETT, Nikki -2 T2 KEMP, Sarah -2 T6 FANKHAUSER, Mollie -1 T6 OH, Sarah -1 8 PACE, Lee-Anne E 9 EBERL, Martina +1 10 MILLS, Joanne +3