The week in ladies golf: Glory for Van Dam, Davies' Solheim Cup call
What happened on the ladies tours this week? And Laura Davies will be back in the Solheim Cup team for the 2019 showdown at Gleneagles…
Van Dam thank you ma’am
Anne Van Dam made it back-to-back Ladies European Tour titles as she proved too strong for Azahara Munoz at the Andalucia Open de Espana.
The Dutch superstar has enjoyed a quite breathtaking trio of months. She won the Estrella Damm Ladies Open in September, secured her 2019 LPGA Tour card in October, and now she has her third LET win after yet another superior display in Spain on the Costa de Sol.
This triumph wasn’t quite as dominant as her eight-shot canter two months ago, but this one was perhaps even more impressive given that Munoz – gunning for her third consecutive Spanish Open title – was making a late charge up the leaderboard at La Quinta.
Van Dam held a four-shot advantage entering the final round but Munoz pulled within two with just three holes to go, only for a lost ball at the difficult par-3 16th proving the decisive moment.
Despite a three-putt bogey at the following hole, Van Dam was able to close the tournament out, laying up on the drivable par-4 18th, safely finding the middle of the green with her approach and two putting for par – enough for a three-shot win.
The Dutchwoman is known for her big-hitting style, topping the driving distance statistic on the LET this year, but her last two performances have displayed her all-round game. Indeed, her approach play was laser-like, and the putter was steadfast under severe pressure on slick, tricky greens.
“I don’t know what it is about Spain, but I like it,” Van Dam told the LET.
“It was tricky weather all week and it was difficult approaching the greens, with the amount of spin I had.
“Today I hit a lot of good shots on the back nine that flew too far and had no spin, where I left myself some awkward putts. The conditions were not easy but I’m happy with how I played my way around the golf course.”
This latest win will also see her break into the world’s top-100 for the first time in her career.
? Dutch Double in Spain ?
— Ladies European Tour (@LETgolf) November 25, 2018
Elsewhere, Catriona Matthew stayed on well for third place, while Olivia Cowan and Natalia Escuriola Martinez shared 5th. Georgia Hall disappointed over the weekend as she faded to 10th, but it won’t take anything away from what has been a sensational year for the Englishwoman, which of course was capped off by her major breakthrough at the British Open.
Despite missing the cut, 17-year-old Julia Engstrom won the Rookie of the Year award.
LPGA are the champions
Over in South Korea, the LPGA defeated the KLPGA 13-11 in the Champions Trophy.
The KLPGA dug in to win five of the Sunday singles matches, but victories for So Yeon Ryu, Mi Hyang Lee, Eun Hee Ji and Sung Hyun Park sealed the trophy for the LPGA side – a team which included Lydia Ko, Minjee Lee and Danielle Kang.
Davies added to Solheim Cup captaincy team
European Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew has completed her backroom team by adding Dame Laura Davies as one of her assistants.
— Ladies European Tour (@LETgolf) November 20, 2018
Davies has made more appearances and won more points than anyone else in the event’s history, with 12 and 25 respectively.
Matthew told the LET: “She played in the first 12, won 87 times, has a wealth of experience, is still playing, knows all the players, will be great fun in the team room. I mean, it was really a no brainer!
Davies added: “I’m delighted and honoured to have been asked to be a vice-captain for the first time by Catriona.
“She sent me a text message when I was doing commentary at The Ryder Cup and I thought, ‘Ah, I wonder what this will be about.’ Sure enough, she asked me if I would do it and I didn’t even have to think about it.”
Davies joins Suzann Pettersen and Kathryn Imrie as vice-captains.