Davies loses her touch

Golf

Laura Davies, who birdied six of the final seven holes at the LPGA Rail Classic at Springfield, Illinois, and made a 25ft bunker shot on the last hole to join a three-way play-off, finally lost her touch.

America's Barb Whitehead missed her chance to win on Monday when her 40ft chip shot struck the pin on the first extra hole and bounced away. So it fell to her compatriot Michelle McGann, whose 12ft putt for birdie on the third hole of extra play gave her the victory.

"I knew this course would give up a lot of birdies," McGann, who has earned three of her five tour wins in play-offs, said. "I knew whoever made the most putts would win."

McGann, Davies and Whitehead completed the 54 holes at 14 under par, all level at 202. After the three made par on the first two play-off holes, they returned to the par-four 18th. "I knew I had to be aggressive," McGann, who hit a final-round 68, said. "I had to have a birdie at least. That was a pivotal hole." The win was McGann's third of the year and was worth $86,250 (pounds 56,600).

Davies, who hit 66, finished the regulation play in impressive fashion. The tour's leading money-winner, however, fell victim to poor driving in sudden-death play and bogeyed the final hole. "I just let things happen," she said. "The front nine was really disappointing. I thought I'd make some birdies on the back nine."

Davies took a break from the US tour and flew back to Britain to compete in the European Women's Open, which starts at Ware, Hertfordshire, tomorrow.

Scores, Digest, Page 9

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