There’s no beating Keating!
AUSTRALIA’s Stacey Keating has taken the Ladies European Tour by storm, notching two solid victories in as many tries, and establishing herself as a force to be reckoned with.
Following her maiden win at the Tenerife Ladies Open de Espana in September, Keating kept the engravers busy a fortnight later, capturing her second straight win at the Lacoste Ladies Open de France at Chantaco Golf Club.
Playing in the penultimate group at Chantaco, the 26-year-old from Cressy, Victoria, was quick out of the blocks with four birdies in a row from the second to catch Round 3 leader Diana Luna of Italy. T he Italian then made four straight birdies from the fifth to get to 15-under but dropped a shot on 10, opening the door again.
After Keating bogeyed the 13th, Luna was two clear of the Australian but Keating birdied 14, 16 and 17 to move one ahead with a hole to play.
A bogey on 18 by Keating created some nervous moments in the clubhouse, and left the door open for a possible play-off. But Luna followed with a bogey of her own, missing a five-foot par putt and handing the title to Keating, whose final round of six under par 64 (-14) was enough for victory.
Keating was presented the trophy by Sophie Lacoste, President of Lacoste SA in the presence of the European Ryder Cup Captain José María Olazábal and former women’s world number one Lorena Ochoa.
Keating described the feeling as ‘surreal.’
“Ten years ago my dream was to meet Lorena Ochoa so standing here is unbelievable,” said Keating.
Keating thanked her caddie and boyfriend Darren Peters, who has been at her side since she joined the tour in 2011, and helped her through the disappointment of being disqualified from the Ricoh Women’s British Open a month earlier, due her to signing for an incorrect score.
“After the disappointment of the British I was really low in confidence, but obviously not now, so I’m very happy. I’ve been playing well leading up to the British as well so it was just how I was going to handle it mentally as well I guess,” Keating said.
“I had no expectations because I was so disappointed and that hurt me a lot. Nothing on the golf course can hurt me like that now.”
She said that she enjoyed competing under pressure: “I just enjoy it. I practice so I can be contending. As long as I’m contending I’m happy. Anything can happen in a golf tournament like we saw there. We were both disappointed to bogey the last but you know, that’s golf and I’ll take that.”
Lorena Ochoa, making a limited return from retirement, finished in a tie for 22nd place on one under par after a final round 70.
“I am happy,” said Ochoa.” It was really a good week. I did make a few mistakes and had trouble a little bit on the greens. I was frustrated today, you know, I have to say that, but at the same time, I need to be happy. I am here just to enjoy it. This is more like an exhibition for me.
“I love to see that the European Tour is growing so much. You can see that now it’s a really global tour, they play in so many different countries and travel so much and they have players from so many different countries and that’s really positive for the game.
“You get fans and sponsors and TV from many different parts of the world and I think you can see the scores are really good. Finishing 13, 14, 15 under, all of those scores are amazing because today, we didn’t play an easy course. So I am sure they are going in the right direction and congratulations to them and also it’s nice to see that the players get along really good. They travel together, they spend time together. It’s important to have friends and enjoy what you do for a living so I want to say that I’ve been very impressed in a positive way of how well the tour is running and I wish them the best.”
More information: www.lacosteladiesopendefrance.com
(Courtesy of ASO)