Ralph produces master strokes to land fine victory

Hannah Ralph celebrates her win
Hannah Ralph celebrates her win

HANNAH Ralph produced the golf strokes of a master in Constable country to win the WPGA International Challenge at Stoke by Nayland.

In what proved a dramatic climax to the third and final round that had seen the lead change hands with bewildering regularity, Ralph posted birdies on the final two holes to claim the €4,000 winner’s cheque.

That is the biggest and most prestigious win of the 25-year-old’s career and she secured it with a flourish.

Having deposited her tee shot on the fringe of the green on the par three 18th of the Gainsborough course at the Suffolk resort, she faced a tricky chip shot to help save par and win the title.

And with Wales teenager Amy Boulden two strokes behind but nursing realistic prospects of a birdie, a miscue by Ralph could have resulted in a play-off.

In the event, the Englishwoman from Cowdray Park chipped in to post a final one-under-par round of 71 and a total of seven-under for the 54-hole tournament.

She said: “It was a tough lie, and I was focusing on trying to get it as close as possible.

“But it looked good all the way and went in. It’s always nice to finish on a high but I had to be really patient – I had a lot of birdie opportunities on the front nine and it was just a case of keep going. Happily the patience paid off – I birdied 17 and then the last.

“Without doubt it’s the best win of my career. I played on tour in 2010 and didn’t do that well and I’ve played a couple of tournaments this year but not a lot. So I wasn’t really expecting anything so it’s a bit unbelievable at the moment.”

In the event, Boulden failed to capitalise on her birdie chance and finished three strokes adrift of Ralph and sharing second place with Galina Rotmistrova of Russia.

Scotland’s Kelsey MacDonald was one stroke clear after two rounds, but faltered in the final stages and had to settle for tied fifth place with Finland’s Monica Christiansen.