LET Release, 28 April 2019: Nuria Iturrios of Spain won the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco, three years after her maiden victory in the same tournament as a rookie.
The 23-year-old from Palma de Mallorca carded a final round of three-under-par 70 over the Blue Course at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam to win by seven over Swedish duo Caroline Hedwall and overnight co-leader Lina Boqvist.
Diksha Dagar finished in T17 with an even 73 in the final round. The young Indian played with great discipline, going two-under through the 16th hole. But she conceded bogeys on the final two holes to fall back to even par for the week.
Tvesa Malik saved her best to the end, producing a three under 70 on Sunday, forcing her way up the order to T41. Astha Madan finished in T50 with a final round 77.
Iturrios and Boqvist started the final round tied at 10-under but Iturrios quickly gained a two-stroke lead with birdies on the par 5 second and par 3 third holes.
Iturrios missed birdie putts on the fourth, fifth and sixth holes and then Boqvist gained a stroke with a birdie at the seventh. Iturrios responded with a birdie on the par-5 eighth to regain her two-stroke advantage.
At the ninth, Iturrios hit a tree with her drive, but threaded her second shot through a gap in the branches and made a brilliant up and down for par.
When Boqvist double bogeyed the 10th to put Iturrios four clear, the leader seemed to be in a seemingly unassailable position but Boqvist then birdied the 14th to get within three again.
However, Boqvist’s short game let her down over the closing stretch and she dropped four shots with bogeys on 15 and 17, followed by a double-bogey on 18.
Iturrios completed a level par back nine to win on 13-under, the only player in the field to post four sub-par rounds.
“It’s amazing for me to win again here. I’m so happy to be here and I hope to keep it going,” said Iturrios, who tied for second in the Australian Ladies Open at Bonville Golf Resort earlier this year.
“On the last hole, I told my coach, ‘We are getting so close,’ and I was nervous but I think we did a great job. I just want to keep going and enjoy it now,” she added, thanking her coach, Jose Luis Palacios, who also caddied when she won on the same course three years ago.
While Boqvist looked devastated, she could take comfort from posting her career-best finish in five years on tour, while Hedwall made a significant advancement up the European Solheim Cup points list, moving into the fifth spot behind Anne Van Dam, Carlota Ciganda, Charley Hull and Georgia Hall.
Iturrios jumped 29 places up to ninth place on the list, boosting her own Solheim Cup chances.
The Spaniard represented the LET in The Queens presented by Kowa two years ago and said that she would love to represent Europe at Gleneagles in September.
Sweden’s Jenny Haglund finished off her title defence in style by posting a course-record nine-under-par 64 on the final day at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam, which included a hole-in-one on the Blue Course’s sixth hole.
Haglund admitted that she had been ‘drained out’ after arriving in Rabat from Hawaii and having attended a number of off-course commitments in the run-up to the event as the defending champion.
However, after three consecutive opening rounds of 75, she was finally over the jet lag and said: “I’ve been a little mad the last few days with no sleep coming here and there’s been a lot of stress coming from Hawaii and then a lot of commitments, so I think I was a little drained out before going into the event and I was really frustrated and mad the first three days, honestly. Today I thought I’ll just go out there and have a different mindset and try to accept whatever happens. I got off to a good start and that helps. Today was a good day so I’m happy and I’ll take away more good memories from Morocco.”
Haglund had an eagle and seven birdies for her career best round. She went to the turn in six-under-par 31 after four birdies and a hole-in-one on the front nine and carded three more birdies on the back nine to come home in 33.
“Today was a really great day. It was just one of those days where golf is really easy. It felt like I could make birdie on every hole and it’s not often that happens. Holing out for a hole in one on top of that was really nice and to keep on going after nine and make a few more birdies coming in was really sweet.”
Describing her fifth hole-in-one, at the sixth, which Mariell Bruun aced on Friday, she said: “The pin was on the left with a downslope right in front and I decided to grip down on an eight and it hit right on the downslope and then took a few bounces and went in the cup. It was a good shot!
“My first one was in a practise round when I was 15 or 16 and I dunked it in with a 6-iron, so that was cool. I made one in college, which hit right and bounced and I couldn’t see it because it was an elevated green. I made one in our team championships in Sweden and then I made one in the 2018 Australian Open for a car.”