Florentyna Parker beats Anna Nordvist at fourth extra hole in Spain
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 23/04/17 9:12pm
Florentyna Parker birdied the fourth extra hole to clinch a thrilling victory over Anna Nordqvist at the Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open in Spain.
Parker overturned a four-shot deficit as she closed with a superb five-under 66 at the Club de Golf Terramar which lifted her to 15 under and into a share of the lead with Nordqvist and home hopeful Carlota Ciganda, who came agonisingly close to winning in regulation when her birdie putt lipped out.
The trio returned to the 18th for the play-off, and a forlorn Ciganda was eliminated when she mis-read a birdie putt from six feet while Parker and Nordqvist made no mistake with their chances.
Parker and Nordqvist then traded a pair of pars, but the experienced Swede was unable to make birdie at the next and the English ace rolled in the winning putt from three feet to clinch her third Ladies European Tour title while also boosting her hopes of automatic qualification for the Solheim Cup in August.
"I knew I had to win," said the 27-year-old. "I know I'm not going to get picked for the Solheim Cup, so I know I have to qualify automatically. I think today I've proved that I can play against the best and best them, so I'm really happy.
"I can't remember how many times I played the 18th hole, but I think I had a few birdies today, so it was fantastic and I still can't believe it. You're up against the best players in the world, they come over from the LPGA and it's so good to beat them."
Parker had started the final round in a share of second place and four shots adrift of Melissa Reid, who tumbled down the leaderboard with five bogeys until a pair of late birdies salvaged a 73 which left her three behind the leaders.
Nordqvist got off to a rocky start with bogeys at the first two holes, but she responded with four birdies in six holes to turn in 34 while Parker birdied the first and then eagled the ninth to go into the back nine in the outright lead.
Ciganda then charged into contention when she picked up four shots in a five-hole blitz from the 12th, but she was unable to match the birdies of Parker and Nordqvist at the last as all three carded 66s.
Nordqvist, who aced the 13th in the third round, said: "I started with two bogeys and didn't hit it all that bad. I fought hard and, after that, I played really well. I missed a lot of putts but it was hard, they were either bouncy or it was hard to get the break.
"I made a birdie on 18 to get to 15-under and Carlota gave us a chance by missing the chance she had to birdie 18 in regulation. I felt I played the play-off as I needed to and had good yardages. The second to last putt just bounced, so I was disappointed there and then I thought I had the last putt on 18 and I don't know how it didn't go in.
"Florentyna hit it to three feet on the last hole and she took the chance when she had it. Congratulations to her."
Ciganda's fellow Spaniard Azahara Munoz a shot out of the play-off after a closing 67, with Reid a further two strokes back alongside Scotland's Pamela Pretswell.