Nicole Broch Larsen clinches one-shot win at Helsingborg Open
Last Updated: 06/09/15 8:34pm
Nicole Broch Larsen overcame a huge test of nerve to claim her maiden Ladies European Tour title by just one stroke at the Helsingborg Open in Sweden.
The Dane appeared primed to cruise to victory after three birdies over the first six holes on the final day swept her into a commanding seven-shot lead.
But nerves and the blustery conditions contributed to a dramatic inward half, with Broch Larsen running up a six at the 10th and then finding water en route to a double-bogey at 13 to open the door for nearest challenger Ashleigh Simon.
The South African birdied 10 and 12 and, although she bogeyed the next, Simon remained within three shots of the leader coming down the stretch.
The pair traded pars over the next three holes before Broch Larsen faltered again with a three-putt bogey at the 17th, and Simon was agonisingly close to holing a bunker escape for an unlikely birdie at the last.
But her closing par gave Broch Larsen breathing space, which she needed as she tapped in for bogey which was enough to earn not only her breakthrough victory on 12 under par, but also a place in the Evian Championship next week.
"It was close. I got very nervous in the end," said the 22-year-old from Hillerod. "I played well at the start but the double bogey set me back. On the last four or five holes I was very nervous because I didn't get into the flow today."
The win made up for a near-miss in Pilsen three weeks ago and Broch Larsen added: "This win couldn't come at a better place, here in Sweden with a lot of guys from home and after my second place in the Czech Republic, it's just amazing."
Simon, who closed with a commendable 72 on a day in which nobody broke 70, added: "It was really tough out there today. I just ground it out, was really happy to shoot under par. The last few holes were particularly tough, playing really long. I hit two 3-woods and my short game, I hit some really good chips coming down the last few holes to save me so I'm happy with the score.
"I knew I had to stay patient. I had done this before and I knew there were tough holes coming in. I just barely lipped out for birdie on my 17th and then I thought maybe the one on 18 would keep rolling in but it wasn't meant to be and Nicole played really good the last three days."
Broch Larsen's fellow Dane Malene Jorgensen bogeyed the last to miss out on a share of second, but she said: "I'm very happy with the way I played, especially after my first round 74, because I didn't think I'd be here. I'm really good friends with Nicole and we travel a lot together so I'm really pleased for her."