Klara Spilkova becomes first Czech Republic winner on Ladies European Tour at Lalla Meryem Cup
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 16/04/17 5:10pm
Klara Spilkova created Ladies European Tour history in Morocco as she claimed a superb one-shot victory at the Lalla Meryem Cup.
Spilkova fired a flawless final-round 66 on the Blue Course at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam to edge out the vastly-experienced Suzann Pettersen and become the first player from the Czech Republic to win an LET title.
The 22-year-old, who was making her first start of the year on the main Tour, came from four strokes behind to claim her maiden win after matching the low round of the week, while Pettersen missed a chance to force a play-off when she came up short with a 15-foot birdie putt on the final green.
Spilkova began her charge up the leaderboard with three birdies in four holes from the fifth, and she picked up another at the 10th to move to six under par.
Another gain at the 13th lifted her into a share of the lead, and she soon led outright when she converted from six feet at the next hole before parring safely in to set a challenging clubhouse target.
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Pettersen looked on course for victory when she birdied the sixth and seventh, but dropped shots at 10 and 15 left her with much to do before she holed from 15 feet at the penultimate hole with a nervous Spilkova watching intently from the scorers hut.
But the Norwegian veteran could not get her birdie putt to the hole at the last as she signed for a disappointing 71 to leave Spilkova celebrating an unlikely victory as well as a cheque for 67,500 euros - the biggest payday of her career by some distance.
"I just took almost a two-month break to work on myself more than anything else, and I didn't play much golf," she said. "I was trying to get my mind in the right place and it worked. I feel much better than last year.
"The hardest challenge is always your ego. I just won for myself, because I felt no ego. I can't believe it. It's just great. I don't really have any emotions now."
Pettersen added: "Obviously I'm very disappointed not to win, I didn't have my best game from tee to green and it's cost me this tournament. I had a putt on the last, which ended short when it was in my hands to at least get into a play-off.
"I kept the hope alive with a birdie on 17 but when you shoot 66 on Sunday you should be there or thereabouts to win the tournament so credit to Spilkova."
Annabel Dimmock made a birdie-birdie start to share the lead with Pettersen and stayed in contention with another gain at the seventh, but two bogeys after the turn proved costly as a closing 70 left her in third place on six under par.
Dimmock's compatriots Georgia Hall (66) and Felicity Johnson (71) shared fourth on four under, but Welsh pro Lydia Hall carded three double-bogeys and crashed to a 78 in the final group to slide to one over.