Maiden victory for Lennarth

Camilla Lennarth fired a flawless final round of 66 to earn her first Ladies European Tour victory at the Allianz Ladies Slovak Open presented by Respect at Golf Resort Tále in the Low Tatras Mountains.

The third year LET member ended on a four-round total of 11-under-par, four strokes clear of England’s Melissa Reid, with Scotland’s Sally Watson and England’s Hanna Ralph four shots further behind in a share of third.

All week, Lennarth had been hoping to see a bear at the Gray Bear golf course and her wish was finally granted when she received the trophy. “I really like this place and hopefully next time I’ll see a bear because that’s what I’ve been talking about all week!” she said.

The 26-year-old from Stockholm began the final round tied for the lead with Scots rookie Sally Watson but quickly gained the advantage with a birdie on the first hole, which Watson bogeyed. Watson then double bogeyed the second hole, opening up a four stroke gap.

“I got off to a very good start. I haven’t been striking the ball very well but I hit a good tee shot on one and a good shot into the green and just made a putt so I thought maybe this could be the day,” said Lennarth, who made a 15 foot putt for birdie.

“From then on I hit some very poor shots but I managed to recover very well. I hit some incredible chip shots and lob shots from places where I didn’t think I could do it and that kept me going.”

Lennarth holed an incredible chip shot from just off the front of the ninth green for eagle to reach eight-under with a four-stroke advantage at the turn, but Reid closed the gap to just two strokes after birdies on holes 11, 14 and 15.

Lennarth replied by making a six-foot birdie putt on the par 4 15th and then rolled an uphill putt of 20 feet stone dead before tapping in for birdie on the par 5 18th.

“I didn’t know Melissa was that close because I saw after 10 that I was four ahead and after 15 I saw that someone was closing in on me. Making a long putt for par on 17 was very important.”

For four-time tournament winner Reid, this was her best finish since her last victory at the Pilsen Golf Masters two years ago. Her final round 67 included six birdies and one bogey.

Reid said: “I’ve worked my socks off the last two months. My head hasn’t been in it the last two years and I will be the first one to admit that, but it’s nice to re-dedicate myself and I’ve not only been working hard with my coach Kevin Craggs but also working hard with my trainer John Woods so it’s great and nice that things are coming together and it’s paying off.

“At the start of the day I was going to take seven under as a finishing total. I didn’t putt great today and I did feel that I left about three or four out there. I’m really happy with the way things are going. I was hitting it really good, nice and long and I would have taken seven-under at the start of the day. You don’t mind losing when you’ve played well on the last day and the winner has played even better.”

Tied for the lead overnight, Watson’s 74 included five birdies, five bogies and one double, but she was pleased to be making progress in her first year on tour. She said: “Obviously it wasn’t quite the finish I would have liked but I struggled the last few rounds and didn’t hit it as well as the first round so didn’t give myself as many chances and the short game wasn’t quite as good as I would have liked. Third place, I’m continuing to move up the leader board so hopefully I’ll be working my way into the winner’s circle sooner or later.”

For Ralph, who played her rookie year on the LET in 2010 before losing her card, a tie for third is her career best finish and the first cut she has made from four starts this year. After signing for a final round of 68 she said: “It was a really good week. I didn’t know what to expect coming back here because I played here in 2010 and enjoyed the course. To finish in this position is amazing and I’m so pleased. I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet. A really solid week, very consistent and I’m really happy.

“I think I just hit it in the right places, had a target and holed a couple of putts on the front nine. I had three birdies in a row so it was really solid. I think the belief has always been there but now I know that I’m good enough to be out here and I know that I can do it and I’m really looking forward to Italy next week.”

The LET continues with the Ladies Italian Open at Perugia Golf Club, beginning on Friday.