France’s Celine Boutier took just such a five-shot lead into the final round of the inaugural Australian Ladies Classic Bonville.
And the 24-year-old not only faced down the fear of potential failure, she endured a three-hour weather delay along the way, dropped a shot upon resumption to see her lead dwindle to two but still managed to win by that margin five holes later.
Runner-up Katie Burnett of America applied pressure over the closing holes, hitting several iron shots close, but ultimately couldn’t capitalise on opportunities to finish with a 3-under 69 and an 8-under tournament total.
“I didn’t really think about it,” Boutier said of the margin at the start of the day.
“I feel like it’s less nerve wracking when you have a bit of a gap but I feel like the three hour delay didn’t ease things.
“I was feeling like I was more nervous going back out.”
That winning feeling @celineboutier !February 25, 2018
Rebecca Artis claimed top Australian honours ahead of Hannah Green, the popular Coonabarabran golfer posting a 1-under 71 to be 4-under and T7, Green a stroke further back and T9.
Neither was a genuine contender in the final round despite both starting with hopes of producing something special.
A three-putt par at the 72nd hole, after launching a tee shot some 290 metres down the iconic 18th at Bonville, was reflective of Green’s week at the popular NSW north coast resort.
“I said to my caddie Paul ‘That pretty much sums up the week, doing that right there on 18 in front of everyone’,” she said.
“The first two days I can’t complain about but the last two days there really was no momentum.”
The LPGA Tour rookie looked flat over the weekend though given her hectic schedule leading into the tournament that was of little surprise.
Green faced a frantic flight from her first LPGA event in the Bahamas, where she finished T11, to Victoria for the Vic Open.
A T3 finish there was followed by a third place finish a week later at the Women’s Australian Open ahead of a week off before heading to Bonville.
Her new found status as Australian golf’s media darling, and her willingness to co-operate with seemingly all requests for her time, ensured there was added pressure at every turn and Green could be forgiven for feeling the fatigue this week.
Artis, too, is playing her rookie season in America having survived the gruelling qualifying school at her fifth attempt lat last year.
Her performance at Bonville will be a confidence boost after a disappointing, and unexpected, missed cut in Adelaide and she will be among the favourites at this week’s Women’s NSW Open at nearby Coffs Harbour Golf Club.
That tournament is the fourth and final Ladies European Tour co-sanctioned event on Australian shores for the year.
SIGNATURE HOLES - 16TH AT MONA VALE GC SYDNEY:
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