From right: Finnair Masters champion Caroline Hedwall and her twin sister Jacqueline.
Sweden’s rising star Caroline Hedwall had double cause to celebrate when she secured her second Ladies European Tour title in five weeks at the Finnair Masters in Helsinki.
The 22-year-old Henderson rookie professional shot a final round of three under par 68 in blazing sunshine for a 54-hole total of 202, 11 under par at Helsinki Golf Club.
She went into the final round with a one stroke cushion after a six under 65 on Friday and it proved enough to hold off the challenge of Holland’s Christel Boeljon, who finished two strokes back on nine under par after a 67.
Hedwall maintained her lead throughout the final round and victory never looked in doubt, but she didn’t take anything for granted until she had sunk the last putt.
She remained one clear at the turn and extended her lead to two strokes after rolling in a four-footer for birdie at the par-five 14th.
Hedwall and Boeljon matched each other’s scores for the last four holes with birdies on the 15th, bogeys on the 16th and birdies on the 17th.
After Boeljon made four on the last, Hedwall tapped in for a simple par to collect the cheque for 30,000 Euros.
She said: “I’m playing pretty well. It was a good day. It was fun. My best day was yesterday. I shot six under and I think that was the key to the win. It put me in a good position. I played pretty solid and I knew that if I holed a few putts I would have a good score. I’m going to keep on going and hopefully earn a few more wins.”
She thanked her non-identical twin sister Jacqueline, who is on a golf scholarship at Louisiana State University, for carrying her bag.
Hedwall won the Allianz Ladies Slovak Open five weeks ago and with her second title and season’s earnings of 134,972.79 Euros from 11 events, she moved to third on the LET’s Henderson Money List, behind Italian Diana Luna and Boeljon.
She also moved to ninth on the European Solheim Cup rankings, having earned all of her points in her last four tournament appearances.
Hedwall was the joint favourite from the start, having tied for eighth at the event as an amateur 11 months earlier.
It was the only course on the Ladies European Tour that she had played previously, having turned professional in January after winning December’s Final Qualifying School at La Manga Club.
|Christel Boeljon plays her approach shot to the 18th green.|
While it was her second win on the Ladies European Tour, it was her fourth title of the season after she won the New South Wales Open in January and the PowerPlay Golf event on May 30th.
Hedwall described herself as a ‘feel player.’ “I play very solid and when I putt well I score low,” she said. “My mistakes are not that big so I normally score around par and when I’m good I’m low.”
Boeljon was happy to have earned extra Solheim Cup points from her second place finish, while Sweden’s Carin Koch was pleased to finish third at eight under.
A career best round of eight under par 63 saw Becky Brewerton from Wales tie for fourth place with Frenchwomen Sophie Giquel-Bettan (68) and Anne-Lise Caudal (71) while South African rookie Connie Chen was seventh, which was her best result of the season.
Chen was one of the three leading players in the field not otherwise exempt to earn a place at the Ricoh Women’s British Open, due to be played at Carnoustie Links in Scotland, from July 28-31.
Anja Monke, who finished eighth, also qualified, along with Australian rookie Stacey Keating, in 15th position.
The 2010 champion, Lee-Anne Pace of South Africa, tied for ninth with Swede Linda Wessberg to complete the top-10 places.
Of the Finnish entries, Jenni Kuosa was the best placed in a share of 16th while the 2008 winner Minea Blomqvist carded a final round 73 to share 50th.
The next tournament on the Ladies European Tour schedule is the Evian Masters presented by Societe Generale which will be played at Evian Masters Golf Club in France from July 21-24.