T16 finish for Walsh as Colombian Uribe ends 13-year wait for LET glory

Kevin Kent

Mariajo Uribe Duran (Photo: Tristan Jones/LET)

Kevin Kent

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The gap would prove too much for Castlewarden’s Lauren Walsh to overcome in the final round of the LET’s NSW Open on the Central Coast of Australia, and she’d ultimately finish on -4, 10 back from Colombian Mariajo Uribe.

It would be another solid round from Walsh who shot under-par each day but with all the action happening in the final group on Sunday, she would have to be content with a tie for 16th.

A bogey on the par-4 second hole after opening with a par-five wasn’t the start she was looking for, but Walsh would rally though with a run of birdies on the 5th and again on the par-3 6th, closing out her opening nine holes with another on the par-5 9th to turn on a score of five-under. Another birdie on the par-5 11th would give hope of a charge on the back nine however Walsh closed out her weekend with a bogey-bogey finish on the final two holes would see her drop back to -4.

All the action on Sunday would centre around the final grouping of the day as Bronte Law and eventual victor, Mariajo Uribe Duran would go toe-to-toe coming down the back nine with a mighty contest between the two going all the way to the final hole of the tournament. The two would trade blows all day with Law scoring a course-record equalling 65 for the day pulling her out of the pack to challenge Duran. The Colombian would birdie the par-4 14th to take the outright lead only to be reeled back in by Law, who then would reach the par-5 17th green in two. Birdie would follow for Law and so the duo would head to the final hole all-square on -13.

A terrific iron for her second on the 18th left Duran inside six feet to pile the pressure on Law who couldn’t follow suit. A simple if nervy birdie putt from Duran was enough to seal the win and earn her the Jan Stevenson Trophy. Her first win on tour in over a decade and a welcome boost on the Columbian’s lap of honour year which will culminate in the Olympics in Paris later in the year.

Duran, whose last title was the 2011 HSBC Brazil Cup, said: “Last time I won was 2011 on Tour and some girls were probably in kindergarten that were playing here this week! It’s nice to come here, I just talked to my husband. He said my son kept waking up during the night. It makes it worth it, I’m going to be away from them for almost a month, so having a win I’m pretty confident I should be in Paris. Mission accomplished.

“I am just glad it’s over! I had good fun today, Bronte [Law] is one of my good friends – we went to the same school,” Duran explained. “It was fun to see her making some birdies. I just wanted to play well. If she was going to take that trophy at the end but I was going to play well, I was okay with that. I’m glad that putt went in on the last hole. I knew the birdies were out there. The other days I was making them, so I just tried to stay patient, and I knew that birdie on nine was really big for me to not let her go that far and stay patient. The experience worked today that way. I knew I could finish with a couple of birdies and luckily, I did.”

The Ladies European Tour remains in Australia next weekend as attention moves to The Australian Women’s Classic at Bonville Golf Resort with Walsh and Olivia Mehaffey both set take part in an attempt to overthrow Meghan Maclaren who holds the Classic.


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