Dubai: In-form Spaniard Nuria Iturrios triumphed in a nail-biting finish at the new-look Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic, the first professional golf tournament to be played under lights, to complete exceptional back-to-back wins on the Ladies European Tour (LET).
The 23-year-old from Palma de Mallorca was following on her victory in the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco last week to decisively retain her No 1 ranking on the tour’s Order of Merit.
Having finished round two tied for the lead on a nine-under aggregate with Esther Henseleit, Iturrios endured a roller-coast final round before she sealed up victory by a solitary shot from the always threatening German duo of Olivia Cowan and Esther Henseleit.
The Spaniard completed the 54-hole test at the Emirates Golf Club’s Nick Faldo-designed course on 10 under for a winning score of 206.
Cowan and Henseleit, who made a late charge up the leaderboard approaching sunset on Friday ended up joint second on 207, while another German, Karolin Lampert was third on 208.
Ireland’s Leona Maguire, who led after the first round on Wednesday, was joint fifth with Swede Caroline Hedwall a further shot adrift.
“I’m so nervous now and so excited. It’s amazing to win again and the work is great, so let’s keep going,” said Iturrios.”
I think I’ll have to go home and realise what I did. Congrats to Esther, Olivia and every player. It was a really good tournament and a good Sunday-Friday and so fun, so I’m really happy.”
Iturrios described the first ever day-night tournament as being pretty ‘cool’ and said that she will like to come back again next year.
Meanwhile, Cowan admitted that her nerves got the better of her early in the day and may have caused her to make some “ridiculuous mistakes”.
“Obviously I’m gutted that I didn’t finish it and didn’t win,” said the disappointed German. “It was very close and intense all day.
“I think I was a bit nervous at the start, because I missed a few stupid shots and made some ridiculous mistakes.
“All in all, it was a really good week and I can be proud of myself.”
Henseleit, 22, also acknowledged the she was overcome by nervousness, but felt that she has gained a lot of experience playing in the last group together with Ithrrios and Cowan.
“Before we started, I wasn’t really nervous, but when the first tee came, my hands were shaking a bit and the first holes were quite hard for me,” she said.
“I also made two bogeys and then a triple bogey on eight and was five-over, so I thought, okay, that’s it for today. I just tried to focus on my rhythm and my swing.
“I made a good birdie on 10 and felt better again and then nearly holed out with my driver on the 13th, which was great,” she added. “Suddenly I was only two back and then I sadly had a three putt on 14 or 15 but then I made birdie, birdie and hit a good tee shot into 18. But the putt wasn’t like I thought. I thought it would break a little less.”
Cheyenne Woods, the niece of Tiger Woods, recorded a spectacular hole-in-one at the second hole during the morning, using a 6-iron from 169 yards.It was the first hole-in-one of the tournament, but the prizes – an Omega watch at the eighth and a BMW Z4 at the 17th – went abegging.
Final round scores
1 Nuria Iturrios (ESP) -10
2 Olivia Cowan (GER) -9
2 Esther Henseleit (GER) -9
4 Karolin Lampert (GER) -8
5 Caroline Hedwall (SWE) -7
5 Leona Maguire (IRL) -7
7 Carly Booth (SCO) -6
8 Gabriella Cowley (ENG) -5
8 Sarah Kemp (AUS) -5
10 Marianne Skarpnord (NOR) -4