England’s Florentyna Parker defeated Anna Nordqvist of Sweden with a birdie on the fourth extra hole to capture her third Ladies European Tour title at the Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open in Spain.
With a final round of five-under-par 66, Parker came from four strokes back to tie with Solheim Cup players Nordqvist and Carlota Ciganda on 15-under-par at Club de Golf Terramar in Sitges.
Ciganda’s birdie putt in regulation play lipped out of the hole and the three players returned to the 18th tee.
The home hope, Ciganda was then eliminated at the first extra hole after her birdie putt drifted right from six feet, but Parker and Nordqvist continued after making theirs from a similar distance.
At the second and third extra holes, Parker and Nordqvist matched each other with pars, but the world no.114 held her nerve to defeat the world no.10 with a birdie putt from three feet.
“I knew I had to win. I know I’m not going to get picked for The Solheim Cup, so I know I have to qualify automatically. I think today I’ve proved that I can play against the best and best them, so I’m really happy,” said Parker, 27.
“I can’t remember how many times I played the 18th hole, but I think I had a few birdies today, so it was fantastic and I still can’t believe it. You’re up against the best players in the world, they come over from the LPGA and it’s so good to beat them! I was putting quite well towards the end and I knew that green off by heart, so I knew it was going to go in. Luckily, she missed!”
Nordqvist was disappointed, but felt that her putting had let her down. She said: “I started with two bogeys this morning and didn’t hit it all that bad. I fought hard. After that, I played really well. I missed a lot of putts but it was hard, they were either bouncy or it was hard to get the break. I made a birdie on 18 to get to 15-under and Carlota gave us a chance by missing the chance she had to birdie 18 in regulation. I felt I played the play-off as I needed to and had good yardages. The second to last putt just bounced, so I was disappointed there and then I thought I had the last putt on 18 and I don’t know how it didn’t go in. Florentyna hit it to three feet on the last hole and she took the chance when she had it. Congratulations to her.”
Despite finishing third, Ciganda received a reception fitting for a champion. Reflecting on her final round, she said: “It’s just golf and I’m happy with the way I played, shooting four-under on the last few holes. It was a good round and I knew I had to make birdie on 18 to win. I hit the putt the way I wanted but just a little too hard. I have to keep learning and keep playing. It’s been a great week and I want to thank all the fans, because I really felt their support. Life is good!”
Compatriot Azahara Muñoz finished fourth on 14-under-par, with overnight leader Melissa Reid of England and Scotland’s Pamela Pretswell tied for fifth on 12-under.
Holly Clyburn finished a stroke further back in sixth place, with fellow Englishwoman Hannah Burke, Karine Icher of France and Swedish rookie Jenny Haglund tied for eighth on 10-under-par.
With her win, Parker moved up to second on the LET Solheim Cup points list, behind Georgia Hall and ahead of Reid and Nordqvist.
Photographs: Tristan Jones