19 Sep

Spanish golf title for English star

Laura Davies at the helm

LAURA DAVIES nearly blew it for a second consecutive tournament but the English veteran held on to win the Spanish Women’s Open at Flamingos. It was the 47-year-old’s fourth victory of the 2010 Ladies European Tour season, and 76th career title (including 20 in the US), and set up her up with an excellent opportunity to top the order of merit for an eighth time.

Davies slumped to a quadruple-bogey on the 13th but rebounded immediately with birdies on the next two holes to restore a lead she kept to the end of the tournament.

American Cristina Kim, one of several other international stars in the field, was joint second on nine-under 204 (rain forced organisers to cut the tournament to three rounds), two strokes behind Davies, with Rebecca Hudson of England and Australian Frances Bondad.

Azahara Muñoz slightly off target at Flamingos

The leading Spaniard was María Hernándéz (fifth); the Costa del Sol’s Azahara Muñoz struggled home for a share of 17th; Tania Elosegui, who also shares her time between Europe and the US LPGA Tour, was 22nd; and Benahavis pro Laura Cabanillas slipped to 37th after an opening 66.

Of the other Australians, Nikki Garrett was 17th, six shots behind Davies; Rebecca Flood finished 22nd; and veteran Karen Lunn (already victorious this season in the Portugal Ladies Open) was 47th. Kristie Smith and Kate Combes both missed the cut by just one stroke.

Leading Spaniard María Fernández

In a ceremony held during the tournament, Cristina Kim accepted a role as ambassador for the Costa del Sol’s bid to host the 2015 Solheim Cup. Kim has played in two Solheim Cups (the women’s equivalent of the Ryder Cup), securing a 5-2-1 win-loss-draw record from Crooked Stick in 2005 and Rich Harvest Farms (Illinois) last year. As well as being a member of the US LPGA Tour, she joined the Ladies European Tour last year.

Alicia Garrido Villacieros from Deporte & Business, promoter of the Spanish Women’s Open, and also involved in preparing the Solheim Cup bid submission, explained, “I think it’s very important to show the American people that the Costa del Sol is a good place to come and I think Christina Kim is a fantastic ambassador for that. It’s time for ladies’ golf on the Costa del Sol. We start with this; we want to have more tournaments on the Ladies European Tour, and if we get the Solheim Cup that would be just fantastic.

Solheim Cup bid

“The Costa del Sol decided to sponsor this Spanish Open and we are really glad. This is the first time that the Spanish Open has come to the Costa del Sol and the Costa del Sol really wants women’s golf. It’s a good way of promoting golf tourism here in this sunny area with so many golf courses.

“We are working hard and we want to present the best option but of course there are lots of great options. I think the weather here is one of the big things we’ve got. We’ve got more than 70 courses on the Costa del Sol so we really can show that this is the best place for having the Solheim Cup: facilities, international airports, big hotels. We’ve got everything. We are now studying which golf courses will be the best for the Solheim Cup but in the end we will present the Costa del Sol with three different options.”

Australian Frances Bondad among the runners-up

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