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Britain’s Laura Davies celebrates 76th career victory in Spain
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Britain’s all-time great Laura Davies shot a final round of level par 71 to win the Open de España Femenino and claim her 76th career title at Flamingos Golf in Benahavís on the Costa del Sol.

Davies finished at 11-under-par for the tournament and secured a two stroke win over fellow Englishwoman Rebecca Hudson, Australian Frances Bondad and Christina Kim of the United States, just a fortnight after her last victory in Austria.

The four-time major champion said it was one of the best wins of her life after she thought she’d blown it by carding a quadruple bogey eight on the 13th hole.

After going to the turn in three-under-par 32, Davies was three strokes clear of the field when she hit her tee shot left onto a steep rocky slope, on the uphill par-four.

Along with her caddie Johnny Scott, she scrambled up the slippery and dangerous hill and found the ball but twice hit a rock behind it whilst trying to escape from the trouble. She hit her fourth shot onto the fairway and by the time she walked off the green with a quadruple bogey, was tied for the lead with England’s Lisa Hall on ten-under-par.

Unlike at the previous week’s Open de France, where Davies was tied for the lead after 10 holes in the final round only to triple bogey the 11th and fall out of contention, she responded immediately with brilliant birdies on the 14th and 15th holes to establish a two stroke advantage. Hall meanwhile double bogeyed the 16th to drop back into a four-way tie for fifth.

Davies explained: “That was really the only poor tee shot I hit all day and we hit the cart path. If it doesn’t hit the path, I think I’m probably going to run back onto the fairway and knock a sand iron on the green.

“Unfortunately, it was in bounds and we found it. It was on a rock, but it was on a rock I could hit it, but what I didn’t figure on was the rock behind and I clipped it twice. The first time was okay, the second time I was stupid because I was too quick and then Johnny said, ‘Look, you’ve got to slow down and look at it,” so I moved my feet down a bit and hacked it down but the damage was done: quadruple, and I must admit, I thought I’d blown it, because last week I had the triple on number 11 and I did blow last week, so it works on your mind a bit. It was nice to come straight back with those two birdies.

“The birdie down 14: that was a nice second shot. The first shot got a bit lucky, hit the cart path to my advantage and left me only 100 yards. The two-iron I hit into 15 was probably the shot of the week. It was 235 and I left myself a long putt but that was a dangerous shot after you’ve just pulled one up a rock face.”

Scott, who had shot up the hill with Davies, said: “After last week, I thought the bogey man was following us around again. I think it made a big difference going birdie, birdie, after that. It saved the day, I think.”

With the €52,500 winner’s prize and her tally of four titles this season, in New Zealand, Germany, Austria and Spain, Davies moved to the top of the LET’s 2010 Henderson Money List, €4,038 clear of South African Lee-Anne Pace, but can she claim the No.1 spot for the eighth time in her career? She will certainly give it a try.

“I think I’m definitely playing in Dubai and possibly one of the Asian events to try and stay level with Lee-Anne and Mel (Reid),” said Davies, aged 46 years, 11 months and 14 days, who already held the record as the oldest ever winner on the Ladies European Tour, but has now extended it with her 43rd Ladies European Tour victory. She has 20 wins on the LPGA Tour in America and 13 on other Tours.

There are five events remaining this season and the next tournament on the schedule is the Sanya Ladies Open in China, from 22-24 October, followed by the Suzhou Taihu Ladies Open, also in China, the Korean Ladies Masters, the Hero Honda Indian Women’s Open and the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters.

Britain’s all-time great Laura Davies shot a final round of level par 71 to win the Open de España Femenino and claim her 76th career title at Flamingos Golf in Benahavís on the Costa del Sol.

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