|Virginie Lagoutte-Clement from France shot a final round of 71 in difficult conditions to earn her third Ladies European Tour title at the Aberdeen Ladies Scottish Open.
The 31-year-old from Montelimar came from four shots behind the overnight leader Jeehae Lee to clinch the title by a stroke from South African Lee-Anne Pace and Englishwomen Trish Johnson and Sophie Walker at Archerfield Links in East Lothian.
Lagoutte-Clement, who won her last title at the 2006 Finnair Masters in Finland, felt that she was out of the title race after she came home with three bogeys in a row from the 14th. However the other competitors also suffered coming down the stretch in the windy and squally conditions.
Ireland’s Rebecca Coakley held a two stroke lead on three-under par after 14 holes but took an eight on the par-four 15th, doubled the 16th and bogeyed the 17th, dropping seven shots in three holes.
Johnson needed to birdie the par-five last for her 20th career win, but missed a 15 ft putt for par to force the play-off and took a six to drop one behind the leader.
Lagoutte-Clement’s solid play over the front nine, which she played in three-under 33, paid off as she lifted the trophy and claimed the first prize of €30,000.
“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. I’m so happy I don’t have the words to explain,” said Lagoutte-Clement, who was joined by her husband Sebastien, who is her caddie and her two-year-old daughter Victoria. “Normally I play badly on links. I’m happy to have battled my demons with the links.”
She had struggled with her short game, missing the cut at the previous four tournaments, after finishing as the runner-up to Johnson in Tenerife.
She was the second straight French winner of the Scottish title, following victory by Gwladys Nocera at The Carrick in 2008.
Scot Vikki Laing, from nearby Musselburgh, shared fifth with Italian Stefania Croce and Jeehae Lee of Korea.
Coakley ended tied for eighth with Stacy Lee Bregman on four over after a round of 75 and said: “Obviously I’m disappointed but more with my luck.”
In the Pro Am format, Archerfield Links member Richard Slater and Caroline Afonso combined for a winning total of 19-under par. Samantha Donald and Jessica Ji finished second on count back, while Johnson and Alan Hansen were third.
The Ladies European Tour continues to Finland next week, where Lagoutte-Clement is likely to be a strong contender, having won the title on the same golf course in Helsinki four years ago.