(Helsinki, Finland – Saturday 29th August 2009) – Beatriz Recari bettered her opening round of 65 with a course record 64 at the Finnair Masters on Saturday.
The 22-year-old Spaniard carded six birdies, one bogey and an eagle at the par-71 Helsinki Golf Club on Saturday to finish at 13-under 129.
She was five strokes ahead of Denmark’s Iben Tinning and Sweden’s Johanna Westerberg going into the final round, with Norway’s Marianne Skarpnord and Becky Brewerton of Wales at seven-under-par.
Recari is determined to earn her breakthrough victory after coming close at the same tournament last year.
In 2008, she tied for third, which was a career best finish, but she was disappointed to have lost her first round one stroke advantage with a 72 on the second day.
“I think I had a really bad experience last year in the second round when I dropped and let my leadership go,” she said. “Overcoming that today, it was very important to me and has given me a lot of confidence for tomorrow.”
In four years on tour, Recari has never led, or played in the last group, heading into a final round, but an impressive birdie putt on her last hole suggested that she has the steel required to win the tournament.
In the first round, she finished with a bogey on the 18th hole, and said: “I had that little knife in my heart yesterday so when I was on nine today and I had a birdie putt for seven-under I told my caddie, ‘We’re going for it; 13-under.’ I stroked in the end putt and I’m really glad.”
She loves the course, which suits her game. She hit 16 greens and had 26 putts on Saturday, holing a 30-metre 58-degree wedge shot for eagle at the par-five 17th hole.
“Its Recari leading and it’s a perfect golf course for her. She hits it straight and she holes some putts so I’m not surprised she is leading,” commented one of her closest challengers, the 2005 European number one, Tinning, who shot rounds of 66 and 68.
The 35-year-old Dane is chasing her sixth win on the LET and her first since 2005, when she won three times. She has been working hard on the mental part of the game with her Danish psychologist Bjarne Lellek, who worked with Søren Kjeldsen when he won at the 2008 Volvo Masters at Valderrama. “That’s pretty much what I’ve been waiting for all year, to get it all together: the swing and the mental part. I’m quite pleased so far,” said Tinning. “She’s got a five shot lead: that’s very good.”
Westerberg maintained her fine form with a second successive round of 67. She is hoping to win for the second time this year following the Portugal Ladies Open in June, when she came from five strokes back to enter a playoff against Spaniard Tania Elosegui.
She is currently five months pregnant by tennis star Joachim Johansson and hoping to follow the example of Catriona Matthew, who in January won the first ever HSBC LPGA Brazil Cup by five shots while five months pregnant.
July’s Open de Espana winner Brewerton carded 68 to tie with the Deutsche Bank Ladies Swiss Open champion Skarpnord, who had a 67.
The 2006 Finnair Masters champion, Virginie Lagoutte-Clement from France, shot 66 and moved into sixth place on six-under with Australian Karen Lunn a stroke further back in seventh.
Blomqvist, English rookie Holly Aitchison, South African Lee-Anne Pace, Denmark’s Karen Margrethe Juul and South Korean amateur Je-Yoon Yang tied for eighth at four-under-par.
Swiss rookie Caroline Rominger holed out with a seven-iron at the par-three second, earning the first hole-in-one of her career.