Abu Dhabi: The wind continued to create havoc but England’s Charley Hull stayed firm to start the 2019 season on a high by clinching the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open, beating Norway’s Marianne Skarpnord by one stroke at the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club on Saturday.
All Hull needed to do was finish on par on the last hole to stay ahead of Skarpnord, who had finished with a clubhouse lead of 7-under.
Hull held her nerves and finished with rounds of 67, 72 and 69 for a total of eight-under-par 208.
The third place was shared by Caroline Hedwall of Sweden with Dutchwoman Anne Van Dam, Dane Nicole Broch Larsen, Spain’s Luna Sobron and England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff.
The 2017 champion, India’s Aditi Ashok, also signed off on a high with the best round of 66 to finish in tied eighth with Jenny Haglund of Sweden and Nanna Koerstz Madsen of England.
“I’ve practised really, really hard over the winter and it feels great to win back on the LET, especially since I had my first pro win in Morocco five years ago. Hopefully, I can get a few more wins this year and I’ve been practising really hard — so it shows that my hard work is paying off,” said a jubilant Hull, who has her fiance Ozzie Smith cheering for her.
“I’m very happy with my round. I left a lot of putts out there today, but it’s hard to putt when it’s windy like this,” Hull told the LET website, adding that it was windy all three days but the final day was way better.
“It was windy all three days really and especially on the second day. Today the wind got up in the end and it was a tricky finish, especially the 18th hole, because you can’t hit more than a 5-iron off that tee to be short of the bunkers, or you go with the driver, and go over it all, and that’s a risky shot. With that back right pin it was a good finish and I hit a 5-iron, over the green, had a 35 yard bunker shot and I stiffed it. It was quite tricky and I made the putt, so it feels really good to be back in the winner’s circle again,” said Hull, who lifted the iconic gazelle trophy.
Skarpnord, who last won on the LET in 2013, said: “Every time I was in contention last year, top three, five, 10, I shot over par on the last round. I kind of had a goal today that I was going to shoot under par and if I did that, then I’d be very happy.
“I holed a couple of putts on the back nine and played pretty good, but Charley plays good golf and I heard she had a very tricky bunker shot on the last and got up and down to win. She hits those shots and you probably need to be one ahead to beat her.”