Lauren Walsh continues to shine in rookie season

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Lauren Walsh (Photo by Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto)

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Lauren Walsh secured the first top-5 finish of her career as Morgane Metraux of Switzerland overcame a shaky start to the final round to claim her second Ladies European Tour title in the Jabra Ladies Open at Evian Resort Golf Club in France.

A one-under 70 gave Walsh a four-under total and solo fourth place.

The Castlewarden native is in fine form following a first top-10 of the season in Germany last week and she finished six shots off the pace, collecting a cheque for €13,500.

After completing a second round of seven-under-par 64 on Saturday morning, Metraux bogeyed three of her first four holes in the final round and her six-stroke lead was down to just one stroke after 12.

However, her closest challenger, Agathe Sauzon of France, missed the green and dropped a shot on the 13th.

The 2022 Italian Open champion, Metraux took her opportunity and birdied the next three holes, starting with a near hole-out on the tough par-3 14th.

A closing one-over 72 gave Metraux a winning total of 10-under-par and a three-shot victory over Sauzon and Swiss compatriot Chiara Tamburlini. Ireland’s Lauren Walsh ended three strokes further back in solo fourth.

“It’s pretty overwhelming right now. I went through all the emotions today on the course, from having really bad shots, and being in bad positions, to making a few in a row to come back. It feels very surreal and it couldn’t have happened in a better place. This is a dream come true,” said the 27-year-old, who is now qualified to play in the next European major, the Amundi Evian Championship, taking place at the same venue in six weeks’ time.

The local player, who lives just across Lake Geneva from Evian-les-Bains, near Lausanne, in Switzerland, tied for 16th place in the major in 2023, a result she wants to improve upon. She added: “It couldn’t be any better. It’s like a dream come true, winning here. Now the next shot is winning the bigger one: that will be the next step. This is amazing. I couldn’t have imagined a better end to this week.”

Just four spots separate Metraux and Tamburlini in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings, as they are ranked 205th and 201st respectively. They are vying for the second Swiss spot in the Olympic Qualification table, behind Albane Valenzuela, and Metraux added: “For the Olympics, there are still quite a few weeks, so we’ll see when that ends. I’m really happy to be able to schedule some of the summer with the Evian, which is really close to my heart. I really wanted to qualify for that one. It feels great.”

After completing a superb second round in the morning, as play was suspended overnight due to thunderstorms, losing her sizeable lead so quickly came as a shock, but she added: “I was trying to tell myself that I was still in the lead and still had a great chance at winning. I tried to remind myself of all the good shots I had hit over the last few days and I knew I wasn’t far off, it was just that I had a few bad breaks and a few bad shots and I like to make it interesting in general, so that was no exception to the rule.”

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