Davies marches on to world record

Britain's Laura Davies left her rivals far behind her and rewrote the record books when she stormed to a final round of 68 to retain her title in the Guardian Irish Holidays Open at St Margaret's in Dublin yesterday.

Davies clinched a 37th career victory with a 25-under-par aggregate of 267 to beat by five strokes the previous world record for women's professional golf, which she shared with Scotland's Dale Reid and the Americans Nancy Lopez and Beth Daniel.

Her winning margin also beat by five strokes the previous record aggregate on the European Women's Tour. Davies finished 16 strokes clear of Asa Gottmo, of Sweden, with Lancashire's Lora Fairclough in third place three strokes further behind.

It was a fourth win of the year for Davies and took her winnings for the season to pounds 353,000.

Davies had started the day 13 strokes clear of Gottmo and Fairclough and had moved a further stroke ahead when she birdied each of the three par-five holes on her way to the turn in 34.

After another birdie at the 16th, Davies then chipped in for an eagle three at the 17th hole before collecting her only bogey of the day when she took three putts on the final green.

"It is brilliant and I am really pleased. I wanted a good front nine, I got it, and after that it was plain sailing," said Davies, the world's top-ranked player.

Gottmo, whose previous best finish was 13th in Stockholm two years ago, came through into second place when she moved clear of Fairclough by playing her closing five holes in one under par.

GUARDIAN IRISH HOLIDAYS OPEN (St Margaret's, Dublin) Leading final scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 267 L Davies 67 66 66 68. 283 A Gottmo (Swe) 69 74 69 71. 286 L Fairclough 68 73 71 74. 288 J McGill (US) 67 74 72 75. 289 S Waugh (Aus) 70 76 71 72; M Koch (Ger) 70 72 73 74; G Stewart 69 73 74 73. 290 P Meunier (Fr) 70 74 74 72; H Wadsworth 70 78 71 71; L Hackney 70 71 75 74. 291 T Johnson 71 78 69 73. 292 K Orum (Den) 71 72 74 75. 293 R Hetherington (Aus) 73 73 75 72; E-J Smith 67 76 76 74; C Duffy 73 76 70 74. 294 A DuBois (US) 74 74 76 70; L Freund (Bel) 73 76 74 71; N Fink (Aut) 77 69 76 72; D Reid 74 68 77 75; F Dassu (It) 69 78 72 75; S Strudwick 71 71 73 76; L Navarro (Sp) 70 73 73 78. 295 J Forbes 70 76 76 73; W Dicks 73 74 75 73; S Gustafson (Swe) 71 74 75 75; E Orley (Swit) 72 73 74 76; C Sorenstam (Swe) 69 79 71 76; L Percival 69 74 75 77; D Dowling 71 73 74 77. 296 D Eckroth (US) 75 68 80 73; K Webb (Aus) 74 75 74 73; M Hageman (Neth) 71 73 77 75; P Grice-Whittaker 72 77 72 75; R Carriedo (Sp) 73 73 74 76; N Buxton 73 73 74 76; L Lambert (Aus) 74 73 72 77; L Weima (Neth) 73 72 73 78.

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