Sunday, September 29, 2013

Lacoste Ladies Open de France Sunday: Azahara Munoz Nips Gwladys Nocera and Valentine Derrey by a Single Shot

Just as a Korean golfer won on the JLPGA over the top Japanese female golfer on the planet, a Spanish golfer took the Lacoste Ladies Open de France title away from the best French golfers in the world.  Azahara Munoz fired a 5-under-par 65 today to get to -14 and beat Gwladys Nocera (67) and Valentine Derrey (67) by 1, Joanna Klatten (68) by 2, and Karine Icher (64) by 4.

Just like Ai Miyazato opened the door for Na-Ri Lee, so, too, did yesterday's tri-leaders.  Although Klatten eagled the short par-5 7th, she made only 1 birdie the rest of the way.  Although Derrey opened with a bogey-free 30, she closed with a birdieless 37.  And although Nocera opened with a bogey-free 31, she made 2 bogeys on the back, her last allowing Munoz to bogey the 17th (her only big mistake of the day after opening with a bogey-free 30 and following it up with a birdie on the par-5 15th) and still win the tournament.  Munoz improved on her T3 here last year to notch her 2nd career LET victory.

Other international players in the hunt didn't fare so well.  Lee-Anne Pace did tie Icher at -10, but she had to settle for a 68, while Charley Hull shot a 71 to fall to -7, 1 shot behind Carlota Ciganda (70) and Bree Arthur (66) and 2 shots behind Rebecca Artis (64).  That didn't help any of them make up serious ground on Suzann Pettersen and Lexi Thompson, who like Beatriz Recari, Catriona Matthew, Shanshan Feng, Anna Nordqvist, Munoz, Sandra Gal, Caroline Hedwall, and Jessica Korda have made the most of their starts in the LET's majors.  Thompson looks vulnerable to Pace at #2, but Pettersen looks to have built up an insurmountable lead on the Order of Merit.

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