Sunday, November 3, 2013

China Suzhou Taihu Open Sunday: Gwladys Nocera Birdies 5 of Her Last 6 Holes for 12th LET Victory

Gwladys Nocera fired a final-round 65 to finish the China Suzhou Taihu Open at -15, 2 shots better than defending champion Carlota Ciganda, 3 ahead of 17-year-old Chinese amateur Jing Yan, 4 up on Joanna Klatten (despite her closing 64), and 5 beyond Charley Hull and P.K. Kongkraphan.  Yan actually led the tournament with 4 holes left to play, but Nocera got on the birdie train down the home stretch and almost never got off, birdieing 5 of her last 6 holes, including her last 3 in a row, to blow by Yan.  Ciganda got off to a hot start, but her putter cooled off on the back; by the time she came to the par-5 18th, she needed to sink nearly a 100-foot putt to force a playoff with an eagle, but instead 3-putted for par.

Nocera, who lost here in 2009 in part due to a penalty for coming late to her tee time, earned her 2nd win of 2013 and 12th on the LET with her late charge.  In so doing, she stayed 4th on the LET Order of Merit, behind Suzann Pettersen, Lee-Anne Pace (who finished T9 at -8), and Lexi Thompson, while extending her lead on Ciganda, Hull, and Beatriz Recari.  I wonder if this will embolden Nocera to try the LPGA again or confirm for her that the LET ought to be her home tour?

By the way, with just 2 events to go on the LET schedule, Pettersen has clinched the money-list title.  Wouldn't it be amazing if she were also to win the LPGA's money title?

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