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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Gwladys Nocera sets L E T record
of 29-under-par 259 in Sweden

Gwladys Nocera from France won her ninth Ladies European Tour title since May 2006 with a record-breaking performance at the Göteborg Masters in Gothenburg, Sweden today.
The 33-year-old sixth year tour player sealed her fourth title of the year with the best 72-hole score in the LET’s 30-year history. She finished with a six-under 66 at Lycke Golf Club to close the tournament at 29-under-par 259.
“It feels good!” said Nocera who broke Laura Davies’ previous record in relation to par of 25-under 267, set at the 1995 Guardian Irish Holidays Open at St Margaret’s.
The raw score of 267 had also been recorded by Davies at the 1988 Biarritz Ladies Open and by Juli Inkster at the 2003 Evian Masters.
“I really didn’t think I could shoot that low when I came here. It’s probably much better than I expected.”
The current European No 2 began the final round with an eight-stroke lead over Spain’s Paula Marti but stretched that into an 11-shot victory over Nina Reis of Sweden. Reis, a 28-year-old from the nearby town of Kungalv, fired an 11-under-par 61 and tied the record for the LET’s all time lowest round set by England’s Kirsty Taylor at the 2005 Wales Ladies Open at Machynys Peninsula.
Reis was 12-under-par for the day after 17 holes and a score of 59 looked possible, but she bogeyed the last to drop back to 18-under-par 270 for second place, her career best finish on the LET.
When asked if thoughts of a 59 were on her mind standing on the 18th tee, Reis admitted: “I thought about it but I also thought that I just wanted to make par and have a good tournament. That was the most important thing.
“I was a little bit shaky but I just wanted to hit a good shot and I thought “If I hit the bunker I will just chip out.”” That was what happened. On the 18th, Reis hit her driver into a bunker and as she tried to chip it out it hit the edge, just landing on the grass.
Reis’s round included three eagles, at the seventh, 11th and 17th holes, seven birdies and two bogeys. Her previous best round was 64 set on the US-based Cactus Tour in April and matched at the Ladies German Open in May.
England’s Felicity Johnson finished a shot further back in third on 17-under after a final round of 68. She dropped a shot at the par-4 18th but matched her previous career best finishes of third at the 2007 Northern Ireland Ladies Open and in February’s ANZ Ladies Masters.
“I would have taken it at the start of the week so this has given me a lot of confidence for the last two events. I’m chuffed to bits with it really,” said second-year player Johnson. “This has given me some confidence for France and Madrid and hopefully I will go a step further next time.” Nocera’s three birdies in a row from the second hole, followed by a bogey on the fifth hole, gave her an outward total of two-under 34 and a nine stroke lead heading into the back nine.
A 30ft birdie putt at the 10th took her to 26-under par, and made the back nine a breeze with further birdies on holes 12, 16 and 17.
She had a 20ft birdie chance to reach 30-under at the par-four 18th but two putted for par. When the ball dropped, Nocera’s French colleagues stormed onto the green and soaked her in celebratory champagne.
“It is funny because on the fairway I said to my caddie Raf, “It would be fun to have champagne today because it’s my fourth one,” said Nocera, such has become the French tradition on tour. She will now head to the Vediorbis Open de France Dames at Anzin St Aubin in northern France, where she is hoping to win next week on home soil.

Par 288 (4 x 72)
259 G Nocera 66 62 65 66 (37,500 Euros).
270 N Reid 69 67 73 61 (25,375 Euros).
271 F Johnson 62 70 71 68 (17,500 Euros).
272 A Yang 69 68 70 65, P Marti 64 66 71 71.
273 M Skarpnoord 71 69 67 77.
274 S Head 71 69 70 65, S Gustafsson 69 71 64 70, M Prieto 66 69 68 71.
275 L Davies 70 70 71 64, Lisa Hall 69 72 66 68.
276 J Westerberg 68 70 67 71, J Tvede 70 66 68 72.
277 C Koch 69 72 67 69, L Fairclough 67 78 72 70, G Simpson 70 65 71 71.
Selected scores:
283 S Walker 71 71 70 71 (jt 35th).
286 R Coakley 67 72 74 73 (jt 43rd).
287 L Kenny 68 72 74 73 (jt 47th) (1,275 Euros).