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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Croce slips out of lead and Monke
steps in for first L E T victory

Germany’s Anja Monke captured her maiden Ladies European Tour title today by winning the Vediorbis Open de France Dames at Le Golf d’Arras.
Monke carded a final round of four-under-par 68 to finish on a four-round total of 10-under 278, two clear of Spain’s Tania Elosegui and Nina Reis of Sweden.
“I can’t believe it!” said Monke. “I’ve worked for this moment for the last five years and so it’s nice to see it happen.”
After opening with rounds of 67, 78 and 65, she came from four shots behind the third round leader Stefania Croce of Italy to secure the €52,500 first prize money.
Croce carded 75 and shared fourth place on seven under par with England’s Lora Fairclough and Paula Marti of Spain.
The 26-year-old Elosegui from San Sebastian took the early initiative in the final round, grabbing a three-way share of the lead on eight-under-par after she holed her second shot for eagle from 100 metres at the par four sixth-hole.
She took the outright lead after a birdie at the seventh hole, but was eventually overtaken by Monke after 16 holes. Monke went to the turn in level par 36 with nine steady pars but picked up the pace with four birdies on the back nine at the 10th, 13th, 16th and 17th holes.
After Elosegui bogeyed the par-4 16th, the 31-year-old Monke from Herford, sank a 10ft birdie putt at the same hole to take a one stroke advantage and then extended it to two strokes by rolling in a birdie putt from ten-feet at the par-four 17th.
“I was in a pretty good mood today because I didn’t have anything to lose,” said Monke. “If I lost it, then I lost it on Friday for sure. The other three days I won it.”
The fifth year tour player had been a runner-up twice before on the Ladies European Tour in 2006, in Holland and in Hungary. She had also posted four top ten finishes on the LET in 2008. Monke turned professional at the end of 2005 after working as a medical technologist in a hospital laboratory for four years. She explained: “I know how real life is and real work so that makes my life even more enjoyable.”
Monke went to qualifying school and won her full card, deciding to give herself two to three years to see how she enjoyed life as a touring professional. She found that she enjoyed the lifestyle so much that she committed to golf full time… and now she is reaping the rewards.