|Christel Boeljon held her nerve to claim her first solo Ladies European Tour title at the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open at National Golf Club in Antalya. |
Christel Boeljon held her nerve to claim her first solo Ladies European Tour title at the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open at National Golf Club in Antalya.
The 23-year-old from the Netherlands held a one stroke lead going into the final day and closed with a level par round of 73 for a five under par total.
She finished three strokes clear of her playing partners Florentyna Parker and Becky Brewerton, who double bogeyed the last.
Brewerton had birdied the 16th and 17th to get within two strokes of the leader, only to find the water twice on the ultimate hole.
Boeljon opened with three birdies in her first four holes to move three clear of Parker and despite dropping a shot at the par-four ninth, she remained three shots clear at the turn.
She opened up a five stroke advantage after 11 holes, having holed a curling five-footer for birdie on the 10th. Despite a shaky finish – with four bogeys and a chip-in birdie over the closing seven holes – she had the cushion she needed to walk away with the €37,500 first prize and trophy.
“It feels great. My mind is doing over hours right now. It’s great,” said Boeljon, who climbs to third on the LET’s Henderson Money List with her victory. “You put so much hard work in it and to finally come out on top is an amazing feeling.
“I was a bit nervous for sure and the back nine was a bit messy, maybe, but the wind picked up as well and you could see it from the scores. They all went up. I was happy to keep my head down and keep grinding and it was enough.”
Boeljon, who previously won the 2009 European Nations Cup as part of a team, tied for second in Turkey 12 months previously and she added: “I think it’s the experience that let me come out on top this week. I’ve spent some time in America and it’s my third year on tour, and I think I’ve gained enough experience now to win and finally I did it.”
Boeljon is now well on her way to achieving her goal for the season: to earn a place on Alison Nicholas’ European Solheim Cup team when the event takes place at Killeen Castle in September. She has climbed to third place on the European team standings, from which the top four will earn a place on the 12-woman squad, along with four players from the Rolex World Rankings and four captain’s selections. “Before hand my goal was Solheim, so I’m on track right now,” she said.
Parker, the 2010 ABN AMRO Ladies Open champion, began strongly but eventually signed for a 75. Having cancelled two bogeys with two birdies on the back nine after chipping in on the par-three 16th, she found the left greenside bunker on 17 and made a double bogey from there after racing a chip across the green.
“I struggled the whole day today. I thought I was going to get it going with the birdie on two but I wasn’t hitting it good enough and I was glad I made two birdies on the way back, but double bogeyed 17 unfortunately. Overall second place was good,” Parker said.
Brewerton also carded a 75 despite being just two off the pace with a hole to play. She said: “I was disappointed with the finish but I birdied 16 and 17 to give myself a chance. I had fifth in Morocco, fourth in the European Nations Cup and second here so I’m getting closer to a third victory.”
The 2010 champion Melissa Reid finished fourth on one under par after a final round of 72 and said: “I was a little disappointed because I felt I could challenge on the back nine. I felt the leaders would get a bit tight, as they did, and if I could have posted a lower score it may have put some pressure on.”
She revealed that she had considered pulling out of the event earlier in the week as she battled a serious sinus infection and was on a drip, but battled through to earn her third top-five finish from four starts this year.