In the penultimate event of the LET season, rookie Alexandra Försterling put together a solid final round display to claim her second LET victory this season
Ladies European Tour rookie Alexandra Försterling collected her second title in two months with a five-shot win at the Mallorca Ladies Golf Open at Golf Son Muntaner.
The 23-year-old from Berlin, Germany, carded rounds of 69, 67 and 67 for a 54-hole total of 203, 13-under-par and an emphatic five-stroke victory over fellow rookie Trichat Cheenglab from Thailand.
Anne van Dam finished a shot further back in solo third place, with Caroline Hedwall and Marta Sanz Barrio tied for fourth. Second round leader Chloe Williams shared sixth with first-round leader Kristyna Napoleaova and Lee-Anne Pace.
Försterling becomes only the second player to earn two victories on Tour this season, having won the VP Bank Swiss Ladies Open in September. The only other player who has won twice on the LET this year is world number 3, Céline Boutier, from France.
“I can’t believe it. I still can’t believe that I won in Switzerland and now here. It just feels great. I played really good today and didn’t make many mistakes. I saved a couple of shots and it was just perfect,” said Försterling, who made five birdies in a blemish-free final round.
“I was definitely nervous. The first couple of holes I was like, calm down, breathe, you know and then again towards the end. Winning in Switzerland definitely helped me and being in the position a couple of times helps. You get used to handling your emotions.”
Steady play from Försterling
Starting the day one stroke behind Williams, Försterling made a steady start parring her first two holes. Williams bogeyed the short second, dropping into a tie for the lead. Försterling then birdied the third to take the advantage. Williams replied with her own birdie on the next hole, sinking a putt from 11 yards.
The Welshwoman then double-bogeyed the seventh to fall two behind. Försterling birdied the long seventh to reach 10-under-par and stretch her lead to three strokes. Williams birdied the eighth to get within two of the lead but promptly double bogeyed the ninth handing Försterling a three-stroke lead through the turn.
Another birdie for Försterling, on the 11th, opened a four-stroke advantage and there was drama on the 12th when Försterling’s approach shot hit the pole and ran 55 feet from the flag. She holed the putt for birdie, as Cheenglab made her own monster putt on the 14th green.
Försterling birdied the 15th and finished with three straight pars to seal the victory in front of the gallery, including her mother and former football World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger.
A consistent year from the rookie
With her win, Försterling earned 500 points and moves from 17th to fifth on the Race to Costa del Sol and from third to first on the Rookie of the Year Rankings.
Speaking about her consistent year, during which she has played in 23 events, made 18 cuts and earned two wins, she said: “It feels like a dream. I don’t really have words for it. It feels amazing and crazy.”
With her second-place finish, Cheenglab earned 320 points and moves to the top of the Race to Costa del Sol rankings.
She said: “I didn’t expect that, to be No.1 on the order of merit. I tried to keep away from Alexandra, because I saw she was at eight-under after yesterday with a good chance to win, so I tried to run away and have a top five this week and I made it.
“I’m quite happy with my results. If I could have got more birdies on the first day, when I struggled with my putter, I mean, everyone struggled with the putter this week because the lines on the greens are quite tough to read on this golf course, but I got one eagle from a chip, so I was quite relieved. I think this golf course is quite challenging and you have to focus on every shot. The wind changed every time we went to hit, so we had to be very strict in the wind.”
LET finale in Spain
The LET remains in Spain for next week’s Andalucia Costa del Sol Open de España, the final event on the 2023 Race to Costa del Sol.
The top five players, who all have a chance to win the Race, are now Cheenglab, Boutier, Diksha Dagar, Johanna Gustavsson and Försterling, who would need to win the last event to have a chance at the Race title.
Asked how she would approach the final week of the season, Försterling said:
“I would say the same as I approached this week. I always just try to play my game and not get too influenced by all these things and try to have fun. It would be crazy to win both, but now I’ve won this week, I will try to take it easy and we’ll see.”
Cheenglab commented: “I’m not expecting to win, but I’d be happy to play with Céline once in my life next week, if I could. For me, the goal is just top three and whatever the result is, I will accept it. I will try to run away again from everyone, that will be the goal.”
View the final Mallorca Ladies Golf Open leaderboard here.