(Tenerife, 5 May 2002) Spain’s Raquel Carriedo whisked away the Euro30,000 first prize after a dramatic final day of the Euro200,000 Tenerife Ladies Open in contrastingly benign conditions as the winds of up to 50 mph that plagued the course all week failed to turn up for duty on Sunday.
The European number one took full advantage of holing her second shot for eagle on the 313-yard eighth hole on her way to a one under par 71 for a four over total, holding off a fast charging Johanna Head from England by one shot.
|Head – may change schedule for Solheim points|
Carriedo, who had finished runner up ten times on Tour, dropped her first shot at the 11th, missing from two feet for par and found the greenside bunker with her approach at the 14th to drop another.
Head plugged away, narrowly missing a birdie at the 16th and went for broke at the final hole and try to make a birdie to post a best of the week 67. Sadly, the sister of fellow Evian Tourist Samantha three putted from 45 feet to drop a vital shot.
Carriedo, leading by three with two holes to play, increased the drama with a sloppy bogey at the 17th and admitted she was nervous playing the last hole, even with a two shot lead.
Finding the bunker for her second shot, the three times winner last year played safely for bogey to card her fourth career victory and assure herself of a place in The Solheim Cup this year.
“I was very nervous out there, especially coming down the last,” said Carriedo.
“I started off very well and made some solid pars out there and then a birdie on seven. And when I made the eagle, it pushed my confidence up a lot. Then I was just thinking make pars and pars to get in. But on the 17th I hit the wrong club and thought – it’s not finished yet!”
“It’s never easy, but I am very happy now, especially at the beginning of the year.”
Head, who had been putting fabulously all day, could not continue the trend at the final hole and three putts from 45 feet denied her of a worthy maiden victory.
“I was a bit shy with my putter over the first few holes but then suddenly I decided to get my act together, then I made three birdies in a row and lipped out on the ninth and made another at the tenth,” said the 29-year-old from Ascot.
“I knew what I had to do out there, on the 12th I saw Raquel on one over and knew I had to make lots of birdies.
“Playing in the USA has helped my game so much and I am a much stronger player now. I came out here to win today and didn’t feel nervous at all, only a little towards the end.
And her brave performance with a niggling neck injury and playing in almost impossible conditions over the last four days may change her mind about playing more in Europe later this season.
“I’m heading over to Japan next week and then back to the LPGA,” she added, “but I’ll be back for the Evian Masters and then think about the rest of my schedule because I might be tempted to play in Europe for Solheim Cup points.”
Carriedo, who earned 40 points for the win to lead the 2002 Solheim Cup rankings with 150.67 points, heads over to Killarney next week to defend her Irish Open title.
Head rose from 35th to 15th in the 2002 rankings on 33.29 points. Esterl moved from sixth to fourth and Monnet from 13th to ninth.