Valentine Derrey let everyone else make the mistakes while she played solid golf to get her maiden victory on the Ladies European Tour (LET) at the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open.
The 26-year-old from Paris joined the professional ranks in 2010. She played in America on the 2011 LPGA Futures Tour (Symetra Tour) and won the Tate & Lyle Championship.
Derrey also played in six events on the LET in 2011 and earned her 2012 LET tour card through Q-School. She began to find a comfort level last year, posting five top-10 finishes and ending the year at No. 10 on the ISPS Handa Order of Merit.
This win moves her to the third spot on the 2014 LET Order of Merit behind Charley Hull and Gwladys Nocera.
Her three-under par 70 was the best round posted on Sunday. It featured four birdies versus only one bogey over the beautiful, but difficult, National Golf Club in Belek, Turkey.
Klara Spilkova, 19 years old from the Czech Republic, took a one-shot lead into the final round and had stretched it to a four-shot margin by reaching eight-under par after her first five holes. Her nerves began to show when she made back-to-back bogeys at holes No. 6 and 7. She turned the front nine at even par but still held the lead.
After a birdie at No. 11 and a bogey at No. 12, disaster struck when she made double-bogey at the par-5 No. 14. Three bogeys over her last four holes gave her a back-nine total of 42. Her five-over par 78 dropped her down to a tie for sixth with Sophie Walker.
Vikki Laing from Scotland started the day in second position, just one shot back of Spilkova. Her nerves were evident from her first tee shot, which she pulled into the trees bordering the left side of the fairway. After chipping out and a subsequent layup on the par five, she dumped her fourth shot into a greenside bunker and was forced to get up and down for a bogey.
Laing added a double-bogey at No. 6 with birdies at Nos. 5 and 8. Two more bogeys on the back nine gave her a three-over par 76, and she finished tied for fourth with Maria Balikoeva.
Malene Jorgensen from Sweden started the day in the third spot, and her final-round even-par 73 gave her the runner-up finish.
One of the brightest young stars on the LET, Charley Hull posted a one-under par 72 to finish solo third.
Hull said after her round:
I played quite good this week, and one year ago if I came in third I would feel really good. But once you have won you want to win every time. That shows how much improvement I’ve made over last year. I’m pretty happy and ready to go to next week.
Hull is flying directly to the United States to play on a sponsor’s exemption in the Kingsmill Championship in Williamsburg, Virginia. She will also be in the field the following week at the Airbus LPGA Classic held in Mobile, Alabama.
Turkish Airlines has become a major sponsor of golf tournaments in the Belek/Antalya region. The company is also the title sponsor for the European Tour's $7 million Turkish Airlines Open, held at Montgomerie Maxx Royal Golf Club in Belek. It is the last event in the Race to Dubai Final Series before the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
Derrey collected $37,500 for her first-place finish, but the future of the LET was on full display as Charley Hull, Holly Clyburn and Klara Spilkova were all in the mix at the end of the tournament.
Quotation from exclusive interview at Turkish Airlines Ladies Open.
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