By Matt Smith
Klara Spilkova held her nerve and held off Finland’s Ursula Wikstrom and Denmark’s Nicole Broch Estrup for a playoff win at the Women’s Irish Open at Dromoland Castle.
The Czech star fired a final round of 67 to finish level alongside Wikstrom and Broch Estrup on 14-under.
The trio then headed back down to 18 and it was Spilkova who rolled in her birdie putt to emerge as the champion at the famous Irish venue.
“I was just trying to stay patient out there because I started a little funny,” said Spilkova. “But I just really believed in myself somehow and I kept saying to myself that it was there for me.
“It has been a while since I’ve won and I have been playing really good recently, so somehow, I was trying to convince myself that I could win today.”
The 27-year-old came into the day having recorded rounds of 6, 68 and 73 on her opening three days and had a tough start with two bogeys in her first five holes, but she also made three birdies to make the turn in 34.
Back-to-back birdies on 10 and 11 saw the Czech player put herself right in the mix before another birdie on 16.
A miraculous par-save from the edge of the water at 17 gave Spilkova the momentum and she finished her day with a birdie on 18 which at the time put her in the lead in the clubhouse.
Spilkova has had fiancé Sean on the bag with her all summer and getting the win in their final tournament of the year together made it all the more special.
She added: “It was his last event this year. He has to go back to school, so I’m really happy that we were able to do it because we’ve been playing so well this summer together and we have a really nice connection out there and he’s a great golfer. I’m just so happy that we actually did it at this last tournament.”
It was a final round each of 68 for Finland’s Wikstom and Denmark’s Broch Estrup as they both secured a spot in the playoff.
“I like Ireland and I had a nice local caddie who was helping me all week and taking care of everything,” said Wikstrom. “It was a fun week.”
Four players finished in a tie for fourth place — Denmark’s Smilla Tarning Soenderby, Austria’s Christine Wolf, Ireland’s Leona Maguire and England’s Annabel Dimmock.
It was a solid end to the week for Solheim Cup star Maguire after a round of 68 and she was cheered on by around 10,000 spectators at Dromoland Castle on Sunday.
“I gave it my very best shot today especially on the back nine,” the Irish star said. “I was just a little bit too far back after Friday, but if you would have told me I’d finish on 13-under-par on Friday night I would have taken it.
“There has been some great golf played. The Irish fans had a lot to cheer about this week, they’ve come out in their droves, and I think the first KPMG Women’s Irish Open in 10 years has been a great success.”
Scotland’s Laura Beveridge, England’s Gabriella Cowley and Spain’s Carmen Alonso rounded out the top 10 finishing in T8 on 12-under-par.
In the 2022 Race to Costa del Sol, Linn Grant increased her lead at the top of the standings and has a 202.27 point lead over compatriot Maja Stark with fellow Swede Johanna Gustavsson in third place on 1,885.63 points.
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