Alexa Pano. LET
Alexa Pano had a landmark Sunday as she turned the ripe old age of 19. Oh, and she also won the ISPS Handa World Invitational in a dramatic playoff.
It was a birthday to remember for Alexa Pano as she won the ISPS Handa World Invitational in a dramatic playoff for her maiden win on the LPGA and Ladies European tours.
A final-round 66 hauled her into a playoff with German Esther Henseleit and England’s Gabriella Cowley on eight-under, and eventually came out on top on the third extra hole with an impressive birdie.
“I’ve kind of been saying that I really wanted to win this event because it’s on my birthday,” said the LPGA Tour rookie. “My best friend can contest it’s been for like two months. It feels so surreal that it’s happened. It’s been a little bit crazy because I didn’t have my clothes and clubs earlier in the week, but it’s all worth it.
“It just feels so surreal right now to have my dad on the bag as well. I can’t actually process that that just happened.”
— Ladies European Tour (@LETgolf) August 20, 2023
Pano fired a round of 66 on day four at Galgorm to put herself in contention for the win, making three bogeys and nine birdies including two in her final two holes.
England’s Cowley carded a round of 70 on the final day competition and rolled in an eagle putt on the last to secure her place in the playoff.
The 27-year-old had the opportunity to take the win on the second playoff hole when she had a five-foot birdie putt, but unfortunately, she missed it and Pano triumphed on the next hole.
While two-time LET winner Henseleit produced a second consecutive round of 69 which included three birdies in her last four holes to put herself in the playoff.
However, the German was only able to make a par on the first playoff hole and ended the week in a tie for second place alongside Cowley.
Henseleit said: “I’m pretty happy with how my game is at the moment and how it’s been the last couple months. I feel really good on the course. I had a lot of fun playing in contention the last two days, so, yeah, hopefully, we’ll be back.”
America’s Ryann O’Toole finished in fourth place on seven-under-par after a final round of 70 in Northern Ireland.
Germany’s Olivia Cowan fired a final round of 68 to end the week in fifth place and secure back-to-back top-10 finishes.
“I’m very pleased,” she said. “I played really nicely today. I played good the last two days. I just had a poor finish yesterday, but I just tried to stay positive and keep going today.
“My new mindset has been going well, I haven’t gotten angry yet, so I’m just sticking to that. I think good golf will follow. Last week gave me a lot of confidence as well, heading into the week I knew my game was well. I’m just excited to play in the next few events.”
In the 2023 Race to Costa del Sol, France’s Celine Boutier continues to lead the way with 1,725.38 with Spain’s Ana Peláez Trivino in second (1,487.20) and India’s Aditi Ashok in third (1,309.19).
Sweden’s Linn Grant is fourth with 1,276.28 points and India’s Diksha Dagar has reduced the gap in fifth and now has 1,237.34 points with Czechia’s Klara Davidson Spilkova in sixth (10,66.46).
Germany’s Cowan moves up to seventh place and now has 1,062.47 points with Sweden’s Johanna Gustavsson in eighth, England’s Cara Gainer in ninth and Charley Hull in 10th.
Cowley jumps from 30th to 11th place in the 2023 standings and now has 920.27 points to her name.