Leona Maguire signed off on a disappointing trip to Morocco with a one-over par 74 at the Lalla Meryem Cup.
A 79 on moving day on the Blue Course at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam proved to be the Cavan professional’s ultimate undoing but that didn’t stop Maguire from giving her all during Sunday’s final round.
Maguire made the turn in one-under and added another birdie at the par-4 tenth to make her way through the field. However, after a long week, the wheels came off on the way in as Leona dropped shots at 16, 17 and 18 to fall to a share of 46th on an eight-over par total. Maguire collected a cheque worth €2,295 for the result.
Earlier in the week, Lisa Maguire fell a long way short of the weekend cut in Agadir after she posted rounds of 81 and 86 for a 21-over par total.
At the top, there was no stopping Nuria Iturrios of Spain who marched to the title unopposed in Morocco, three years after her maiden victory in the same tournament as a rookie.
The 23-year-old from Palma de Mallorca carded a final round of three-under-par 70 to win by seven over Swedish duo Caroline Hedwall and overnight co-leader Lina Boqvist.
Iturrios and Boqvist started the final round tied at 10-under but Iturrios quickly gained a two stroke lead with birdies on the par 5 second and par 3 third holes.
Iturrios missed birdie putts on the fourth, fifth and sixth holes and then Boqvist gained a stroke with a birdie at the seventh. Iturrios responded with a birdie on the par-5 eighth to regain her two-stroke advantage.
At the ninth, Iturrios hit a tree with her drive, but threaded her second shot through a gap in the branches and made a brilliant up and down for par.
When Boqvist double bogeyed the 10th to put Iturrios four clear, the leader seemed to be in an seemingly unassailable position but Boqvist then birdied the 14th to get within three again.
However, Boqvist’s short game let her down over the closing stretch and she dropped four shots with bogeys on 15 and 17, followed by a double-bogey on 18.
Iturrios completed a level par back nine to win on 13-under, the only player in the field to post four sub-par rounds.
“It’s amazing for me to win again here. I’m so happy to be here and I hope to keep it going,” said Iturrios, who tied for second in the Australian Ladies Open at Bonville Golf Resort earlier this year.
“On the last hole, I told my coach, ‘We are getting so close,’ and I was nervous but I think we did a great job. I just want to keep going and enjoy it now,” she added, thanking her coach, Jose Luis Palacios, who also caddied when she won on the same course three years ago.
While Boqvist looked devastated, she could take comfort from posting her career best finish in five years on tour, while Hedwall made a significant advancement up the European Solheim Cup points list, moving into fifth spot behind Anne Van Dam, Carlota Ciganda, Charley Hull and Georgia Hall.
Iturrios jumped 29 places up to ninth place on the list, boosting her own Solheim Cup chances.
The Spaniard represented the LET in The Queens presented by Kowa two years ago and said that she would love to represent Europe at Gleneagles in September.
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