Nuria Iturrios storms to seven-shot win at Lalla Meryem Cup
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 28/04/19 10:04pm
Nuria Iturrios propelled herself to the top of the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit after cruising to a huge victory at the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco.
The Spaniard went into the final round tied for the lead with Lina Boqvist, who stumbled to a four-over 77 as Iturrios kept a bogey-free card in a closing 70 which earned her a convincing seven-shot victory - her first since claiming her maiden title at the same event three years ago.
Playing the Blue Course at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam while the European Tour's men tackled the Red Course across the road, Iturrios gained the early advantage with birdies at the second and third but missed further good chances on each of the next three greens before Boqvist halved the deficit at the seventh.
But Boqvist was unable to match her rival's birdie at the long eighth, and the Swede then double-bogeyed the 10th for the second time in the tournament to leave Iturrios four strokes clear at the top of the leaderboard.
Iturrios maintained her discipline to put together a steady run of pars, and her advantage was trimmed to three when Boqvist birdied the 14th only to ease the pressure on the leader when she dropped shots at the 15th and 17th.
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The champion-elect closed out an impressive win with her 10th par in a row at the last to post a winning score of 13 under par, while Boqvist scrapped her way to another double-bogey six as she slipped into a share of second place with her experienced compatriot, Caroline Hedwall.
"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 was the only player in the field to fire under-par scores in all four rounds. "On the last hole I was nervous but I think we did a great job. I just want to keep going and enjoy it now."
Hedwall recovered from an opening bogey with four birdies, including three in four holes around the turn, as she returned a 70 to finish alongside Boqvist on 10 under, one stroke ahead of Esther Henseleit, Marianne Skarpnord, Laura Fuenfstueck and Hannah Burke.
Defending champion Jenny Haglund was out of contention for back-to-back wins after three rounds of 75 left her 16 shots off the lead heading into the final day, but she finished with a flourish as she stormed into the top-10 with a course-record 64 which included a spectacular hole-in-one at the sixth.