Ladies Masters crown goes to Woods
With defending champion and tournament favourite Karrie Webb making an early exit after a regrettable scorecard mishap on Friday afternoon, there was always going to be a new face lifting the trophy at the 25th Volvik Ladies Masters on Sunday.
American Cheyenne Woods held off a brilliant challenge from Australian Amateur champion Minjee Lee to take out her first major professional win at the RACV Royal Pines layout.
Cheyenne Woods (Photo: SMP Images)
The 23-year-old shot a final round of four-under-par 69 on the RACV Royal Pines layout to finish at 16-under-par, two shots ahead of 17-year-old Lee, who matched Woods’ 69 to finish at 14-under-par.
South African Stacy Lee Bregman (72) and Swede Camilla Lennarth (70) finished in a tie for third position at 12-under-par.
The performance guaranteed Woods her best result in a two-year professional career and the perfect response to a missed cut last week in New Zealand.
The interest in the fortunes of the niece of superstar Tiger Woods were such that the Golf Channel beamed the final stages of the tournament live into the United States.
Woods was elated with her win.
“This is a huge accomplishment for me. The Ladies European Tour has been great to be able to play this last year, I’ve been able to see all of these great players, play with Solheim Cup members, so I’ve learned so much from all of these girls and to be able to come out here and actually compete with them and come out on top was huge for me.”
“All off season I was just getting ready with my coach back home and he told me he thinks that this is my year, my time to finally get a win and to have it this early in the season is exciting, especially with the European Tour and then here in Australia.”
“I’m just really proud with how I played this week and followed through all four days and finished strong.”
The sunny, breezy conditions on the Gold Coast over the first three days took a backseat with drizzling rain and overcast conditions greeting the players on Sunday morning.
However, it wasn’t long before the drizzle cleared to provide players with the best scoring conditions of the week.
With the greens a little softer (some caddies suggested they’d been watered overnight), the players responded.
Starting out well before the leaders, Spain’s Belen Mozo shot an eight-under 65, while Shin-Ae Ahn, Pamela Pretswell and Yani Tseng signed for seven-under 66.
Sweden’s Solheim Cup star Caroline Hedwall left plenty of opportunities on the golf course in posting her own 66, which vaulted her into a tie for fifth.
Woods started the final round a shot ahead and immediately picked up a birdie at the first but gave it back with a bogey on the 4th.
The hugely impressive Lee then peeled off consecutive birdies on the 6th, 7th and 8th to draw level before Woods took the lead again with a birdie at the 9th.
Woods held the lead from there on with further birdies at the 12th, 15th and 18th to take the trophy and the €37, 500 first prize with her to Melbourne for the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open starting at the Victoria Golf Club this Thursday.