Beth Allen reversed a four stroke deficit with nine holes to play to claim a decisive victory at the Lacoste Ladies Open de France.
After knocking at the door all season, the 34-year-old Californian fired rounds of 64, 67, 68 and 67 for a total of 14-under-par 266 to earn her second title on the Ladies European Tour following the 2015 ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters.
Allen found her groove with two birdies and an eagle on the back nine at Golf de Chantaco to end four clear of Florentyna Parker and overnight leader Diana Luna.
One ahead going into the final round, Luna was four strokes ahead at the turn but came home in four-over 39. Allen played the front nine in one-over 36 and birdied the 10th hole but went one ahead after Luna triple bogeyed the treacherous par-4 11th, which played as the most difficult hole on the course all week due to its severely sloping green, from back to front.
Allen moved two ahead after Luna three-putted the 14th and she then soared three clear after making a short eagle putt on the long 15th. Luna bogeyed 16 to fall four behind, but all three players holed monster birdie putts on the 18th, Allen from 21 feet.
Allen said: “It feels so great. The first time I won it was from quite far back so I had to wait, but it was really great to win in the last group.”
She added: “The 11th hole is always on everyone’s mind and I have played it in one-under this week, which is kind of incredible. I probably won it there really, because I know a lot of people had a lot of nightmares there. I knew I needed to stay patient. I wasn’t happy with my first nine but I knew that if I could stay patient around that area I could have a chance. In the end, I did.”
Parker, who also had a final round of 67, commented: “I’m pleased with my last round: three under was good. I never really got it going but I’ll take it. The last few holes were solid and I holed a few putts. I was the bridesmaid and I was just observing and watching. After Diana had the birdie on 11 it kind of brought me back into the game. I realised that and birdied 12, which was good, but Beth’s eagle made me realise I wasn’t going to win. I was looking for second place.”
Luna signed for a final round of two-over-par 72 to claim her fourth runner-up spot in the event, going back to 2010. She said: “I hit three bad drivers and I paid for them very dearly: that happens in golf. Second place is still good playing and I made my putt on 18, which was not a gimme. It was a huge putt to be second as well, because I knew that Florentyna was going to make it. Of course I’m disappointed because I was four shots ahead and I dropped them all. This happens, especially on this course.”
Georgia Hall finished alone in fourth place on eight-under-par after a final round of 64 and fellow Britons Melissa Reid, Sally Watson and Amy Boulden shared fifth with Malene Jorgensen from Demark.
The recent Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open winner Isabelle Boineau was the leading French player in ninth place, while rookie professional Aditi Ashok from India posted her third straight top-10 finish as she tied with Alexandra Vilatte Farret one spot back.
With her win, Allen earned €37,500 and is now €25,471 behind Shanshan Feng in the LET’s Order of Merit race.