Munoz retains French titlle

Azahara Munoz of Spain retained her Ladies Open de France title at Golf de Chantaco on Sunday.

Staring the day four shots off the pace, the 26-year-old from San Pedro de Alcántara, near Malaga, birdied the last two holes to end a stroke clear of over night leader Maria Hernandez and Amy Boulden.

Welsh Ladies European Tour rookie Boulden, playing in the penultimate group, set the target at 10-under-par and watched as Hernandez missed her birdie putt before Munoz expertly sent her ball into the middle of the hole from three metres.

“I just love this place, you know. I’ve been playing well all week but putts weren’t dropping and when it came to the last two I knew I needed at least one birdie to go to the play-off,” said Munoz.

“When I dropped that one at 17 I thought I had a really good chance and on 18 too, I just focused on hitting a good putt. Putts haven’t dropped all week so I guess it was my time and I’m just really happy.

“On 11, 12, 13 and 14 I made pretty good par putts and that kept me going and then three birdies in the last four.”

Munoz birdied the second, but slipped down the leader board with a double bogey on the third hole. She recovered with birdies on seven and nine before dropping another on the 10th hole.

She began her birdie run with an up and down from beside the 15th green and then holed putts of 2.5 and 3 metres on the 17th and 18th holes respectively for a final round of 67 and a total of 11 under.

Hernandez, who led after each of the first three rounds, went to the turn in one under par with a three stroke cushion but made three bogeys on holes 10, 13 and 16.

“I was hitting the ball consistent but not as close as the last few days and I missed three short putts and made three bogeys and didn’t make any birdie putts,” she said.

With a final round of 66, containing a double bogey and six birdies, Boulden earned her career best finish of equal second on the Ladies European Tour and her third top five finish this year.