Big congratulations to Denmark’s Monica Christiansen on her win at the 2013 Dinard Ladies Open this week ! It was an amazing final round on a cold spring day along the Bretagne coast of France filled with everything a golf fan could ask for in terms of thrills and chills.
The day began with USA’s Megan Grehan atop the leaderboard. The lead moved nearly continuously throughout the day with Mireia Prat and Ann-Kathrin Lindner also spending time in the lead at different points in the day.
The true test of the layout along the Atlantic coast comes on the back nine, as the 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th all feature blind approaches that are already challenging on a calm day, nevermind one with wind. And that’s really where the tournament was won by Christiansen. Monica simply played steady golf through the danger, let the leaders comes to her, and then struck with a decisive birdie on the 15th. She had left herself a 30 footer or so, but read the long putt perfectly. At the same time dropped shots by the leaders suddenly handed Christiansen a two shot advantage heading into the final three holes.
The leader change at that point had to come as a shocker to the two final flights, as the on-course board hadn’t really shown Christiansen’s name until then. On course, few of the spectators were even aware how tight the field had become.
By the 16th, Monica’s flight started to draw the majority of the spectators. And she held her nerve with steady pars on 16 and 17 before heading up the 18th. Actually she nearly birdied the 16th, but her putt flirted with the cup before moving just right of the hole, leaving a tap-in for the par.
Christiansen played her drive off the 18th toward the right, safely removing the greenside bunkers from play and opening up the green to her approach. A steady shot into from about 125 yds to within 8 feet of the cup left her with two putts to secure the win. You could tell this one was a long time coming for Monica, as a large contingent of fellow pros waited near the 18th to cheer her victory and give her a hug.
Should more golfers consider signing up for “Dancing with the Stars”? I got a laugh out of Monica when I asked that after the prize ceremony. In case you aren’t already aware, Monica competed on the Danish version of the popular dance reality show last summer. But truth is that since then, Monica’s golf game has really taken off. She seems to have a renewed sense of purpose competing these days.
The LET Access Series has again taken a step up in terms of the quality of the golf. Amazing to watch. Still wondering why we haven’t seen more golfers from the university ranks in the States choose to come play on LETAS rather than on the Symetra Tour. And that’s not a knock on the Symetra at all, but the quality of the venues and level of competition on the Access Series is really, really impressive.
German amateur Ann-Kathrin Lindner was the real surprise in my mind. Her game took a big step forward this week in terms of both form and maturity – no doubt she will contend in future LETAS and LET tournaments. Definitely one to watch.
Superb to see Isabella Ramsay competing in the final groups this week. Great first round and final round as well under the conditions. She’s a great young player, and one who could very well turn some heads this year.
Megan Grehan had a great week in Dinard and has really had a strong start to her LET Access campaign for 2013. It was nice to see her mom come over and support her during the week in France.
Felt incredibly badly for Mireia Prat. After barely missing a birdie on the 9th, the wheels simply came off on the 10th. And is was really just a bad break, rather than anything else. Her approach to the 10th green was fully blind. The ball travelled maybe a couple of inches to far in the air and simply rolled an extra 6 inched too far (greens were again very quick and not holding), just over the boundary which is tight to the back of the 10th green. She had to go back and take the approach again and simply couldn’t recover from there. All after probably missing a blind approach by a an inch or two. The margin for error was just incredibly thin.
The next generation of French amateurs has the potential to be truely special. Manon Molle, Eva Gilly, Louise Gateau Chovelon have each taken big jumps in the past year. Perrine Delacour and Ariane Provot are poised to reached new heights if they keep working hard. Much of this is due to both the organizational efforts by FFGolf and of course the Generali Tour itself, which gives these young golfers great playing opportunities.
Many, many thanks to everyone at Dinard Golf for their warm hospitality again this week. It’s the 3rd year in a row that I managed to visit Dinard and it’s a true favourite. Merci beaucoup !!