Albatross secures win for Parker

Florentyna Parker won the Ladies Italian Open presented by Ruco Line by one stroke after a stunning final round of 68 which included an albatross at Perugia Golf Club in Umbria.

With a seven-under-par three round total, she held off the challenge of fellow Englishwoman Holly Clyburn, who had a closing 70.

Parker, who celebrated her 25th birthday last week, was level par for the day when an albatross on the 390 metre, or 427 yard par five 14th, finally put her clear.

With her mother Gina acting as caddie, Parker holed her second shot from 152 metres using a 6-iron.

Clyburn, who bogeyed the 13th, then eagled the 14th to draw level. The pair were then tied at seven-under-par until Clyburn bogeyed the 17th. She hit her tee shot under a bush and took a penalty drop before playing an excellent stroke to the green, but missed a putt for par from six feet.

Parker made an excellent up and down from behind the small, 18th green to secure her second Ladies European Tour victory and collect a cheque for 37,500 euros.

England’s Rebecca Hudson was third on five-under-par after a final round 71, with Italian Diana Luna fourth on three-under after a final round 72. First round leader Whitney Hillier ended in a tie for eighth, while Italy’s Virginia Carta was the leading amateur in a share of 42nd place.

Parker, whose first win in six seasons as a professional came at the 2010 Dutch Open, said: “It’s been too long. My grandpa is Italian so it was actually the perfect week.

“I played quite well from the start. I was one under through nine and bogeyed 10 so I was level after 10 and I said to my mum, okay, three more birdies. I happened to make a long par putt on 12 and then I holed my six-iron on a par five. I pared in, because that was still tricky, on the last hole. I thought it was a good shot and then the up and down was very good.”

On recording her first albatross, she continued: “It’s a short par five and I had two pars there the first two days which felt like a bogey, because it’s such a short hole. My mum said, ‘You need to make a birdie,’ and I holed the shot, so I said, ‘Are you happy now?’ I was three under for three days on that hole which is good. I have some champagne left over from my birthday last week and I kept saying, ‘we need to drink it,’ and so I will!”

Clyburn, who made a strong start, said: “It is hard luck and I’ve taken it quite well considering. Hats off to Flory and having that two on 14 was a big change around. I went out there to shoot under par and that’s what I did. It was tight between Rebecca and I on the front nine and I kept plugging away. On the back nine I had an unlucky bogey on 13 and made eagle on 14 so I thought, ‘just keep plodding away.'”

The victory qualifies Parker for the 2014 Ricoh Women’s British Open at her home club, Royal Birkdale in a fortnight, just after the ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters taking place at Buckinghamshire Golf Club this week.