Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall captured her second Bing Lee Samsung Women’s NSW Open title at Oatlands Golf Club in Sydney on Sunday.
The five-time winner on the Ladies European Tour held off two of the world’s finest teenaged amateurs, defending champion, Lydia Ko from New Zealand and Western Australian Minjee Lee.
Hedwall fired a final-round 68 to finish on 13-under par, two shots clear of world No.1 ranked amateur Ko (69) in drizzling conditions.
Australian amateur champion Lee (71), the No.3-ranked amateur in the world, stayed in contention until the 16-year-old incurred her first and only bogey of the tournament after 48 holes and finished on 10-under.
Queensland’s Bree Arthur (68) finished outright fourth a further shot back, with Victorian Stacey Keating (69) rounding out the top five at eight-under-par. Western Australian Kristie Smith (71), New South Wales Emma De Groot (66) and France’s Joanna Klatten (69) all finished at seven-under-par.
“It’s always good when young players come up and battle with the older ones and I think it’s fun,” Hedwall said.
Ko and Hedwall were tied for lead with three holes to play before the Swede edged ahead on the 17th hole when Ko bogeyed after her drive found the trees.
“I actually thought about the last time I was here two years ago, and Lydia was one up going into the last hole,” said Hedwall, who earned $18,750.
“I hit a great (tee) shot and set up for a nice birdie putt and took a lot of pressure off.”
“I really enjoy those situations, I love being under pressure and that’s what I practise for.”
Hedwall, the highest-ranked professional in the tournament at No.39, bogeyed the par-four first but picked up three birdies before the turn and two more coming home.
After carrying her own bag for the previous two days, Hedwall had younger twin sister Jacqueline, who missed the cut, act as her caddie.
Hedwall became only the second player to win the title multiple times, Sarah Oh won back to back titles in 2009 and 2010.
The players now move to the Gold Coast for the co-sanctioned Volvik RACV Ladies Masters on Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd February, which marks the start of the 2013 Ladies European Tour season. Christel Boeljon of the Netherlands will attempt to defend the crown.