German golfer wins SA Women's Open
16 July 2012
Germany's Caroline Masson was remarkably composed on a brutal final day of the South African Women's Open golf tournament at Selborne in KwaZulu-Natal, claiming her maiden victory on the Ladies European Tour on Sunday.
Masson closed with a bogey-free 70 to win on one-under-par 215, one stroke clear of South Africa's Lee-Anne Pace and England's Danielle Montgomery.
"I'm so happy. It was such a tough day with the wind," Masson said of a round which was in doubt because of the gale force winds that battered the Selborne Park Golf Club from the early morning.
At its strongest, the wind raged at 81 km/h, and forced a one-hour delay of the tee-off time. It was into these conditions that Masson threw her disappointments of several near misses in the past and her hope of a maiden title at last.
She birdied the par-five third for her only birdie of the day. But far more impressive was the fact that she didn't drop a single shot.
"That was pretty good. I hung in there and made my pars. I got lucky a few times, and I had a few birdie chances but didn’t make those putts. But, all in all, I'm really happy with the way I played," she commented on her performance.
Missed birdie putt
Pace was determined to make a move in the tough conditions and came close to forcing a playoff before missing her birdie putt on the 18th on her way to a 70 and a level-par finish.
"I played really solid golf from the second round, and when the wind came up I knew I had a chance. I just stayed patient out there and made my pars," she said.
Montgomery closed with a solid 72 to share second on 216.
South Africa's Melissa Eaton-Jackson also impressed with a tournament low of 68 to climb to three-over and a share of ninth place.
However, it was Masson who showed the greatest composure, leading from the first round on her way to a deserved victory.
"You have to keep patient in these conditions, which is not my strength to be honest. I had a few good chances to win before this, so I just kept focusing on playing my own game and not worrying too much about the leaderboards," she said.
"I’m feeling very confident," she added about the effect of securing victory. "I've been waiting for this for such a long time, and the middle of the year is great timing for a victory.
'A beautiful country'
"It's also nice to do it in South Africa. This is a beautiful country and we're all really glad to have the tournament back here."
As South Africa's top-ranked player in the field and a key ambassador for the event, Pace echoed Masson's sentiments.
"I think it's fantastic for South African woman's golf to have this tournament back here. It's very exciting times, and all the Europeans are talking about coming back. It's really good stuff for South Africa," she enthused.
The Jackie Mercer Trophy, named after the four-time SA Women's Open champion, for the leading amateur went to South Africa's Bertine Strauss, who finished on 12-over-par with rounds of 78, 72 and 78.
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