For all the accolades and all the praise and all the recognition, there is really only one Marianne Skarpnord impressed with her win at the Pacific Bay Resort Australian Ladies Classic – Bonville: herself.
The 33-year-old Auswegian (Skarpnord was born in Norway but is married to Australian golfer Richard Green) claimed her fourth Ladies European Tour title in style with a two-shot win at the highly regarded Bonville layout, a victory that has restored her confidence in her own game.
“It’s nice to finally get some good scoring and actually be able to do it under pressure,” she said in the aftermath of the trophy presentation.
“That’s what I’ve felt in the last few years that when the pressure has been on I’ve failed and that was in the back of my mind today.
“All I kept thinking was just prove to yourself how good you can play and prove to yourself how good you are.”
Skarpnord achieved that in style with a final round 69 that took her from one behind overnight leader Madelene Sagstrom to two in front of Australia’s Hannah Green and Spain’s Nuria Iturrios.
“I feel more relieved than anything else, to be honest,” she said. “I think all players are the same; the pressure we put on ourselves is more than anything anybody else can do.”
For Green, who is yet to win a professional title on home soil, it was another frustrating close call after a third-place finish in the 2018 Women’s Australian Open and top 10 here last year.
“Very disappointed with how I hit the ball the first nine after a really good tee shot on the first,” she said of what was ultimately a 1-under 71.
“I had three or four shots that were very bad contact, and they were costly. But I can’t complain about the result and this year I had a genuine chance to win so hopefully my time will come.”
Also pleased with her high finish was Iturrios who bolted to the 36-hole lead with a Friday 67.
While that four-shot buffer evaporated Saturday, the exciting Spaniard continued her bold strategy in the final round and said she would take a lot of confidence from the week.
“I love Australia, and I was so happy with my game this week,” she said. “This year I am playing in America, and I’m very excited for the season.”
For Sagstrom, whose two-shot overnight lead disappeared with a double bogey at the third hole, it was a day of what might have been.
She said she felt mental errors had been costly but that she would take the positives from a mostly good week.
“I made some big, bad decisions that I couldn’t recover from,” she said of her 3-over 75.
“I was a little greedy at some points and too defensive in others. You learn a lot when you’re in this position so….”
Skarpnord picks up a cheque for $52,500 for the win and is now atop the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit.