Golf: Alfredsson stays cool

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The Independent Online
THERE is no substitute for regular competitive play and Helen Alfredsson underlined the point here yesterday when she completed a final round of 69 over the Haninge course to win the IBM Open and her second European victory of the season.

Alfredsson, cheered home by an 8,000-strong Swedish gallery, finished with a 14-under-par total of 278, two strokes clear of her compatriot, Liselotte Neumann.

To complete a rewarding event for Sweden, Annika Sorenstam, 22, and still an amateur until after the World Team Championships in Vancouver in October, shared third place with Britain's Laura Davies.

It was Alfredsson's 25th tournament of the year during which she has already won dollars 90,000 ( pounds 46,000) in the United States. Her winner's cheque for dollars 13,500 yesterday takes her earnings from four European events to more than dollars 44,000.

Alfredsson started the final round one stroke ahead of Helen Wadsworth, of Wales, who had made up ground with a fine 69 in the third round on Saturday and went further ahead with two birdies in her opening four holes on her way to the turn in 33.

At this stage Alfredsson led by four strokes from Sorenstam with Neumann and Davies one stroke further behind. It was a more than useful cushion for Davies birdied the 11th and 13th while Neumann closed to within one stroke of Alfredsson with four birdies in five holes from the long 11th.

Not for the first time Alfredsson handled the mounting pressure admirably. Turning for home she reeled off par figures until she reached the short 16th where she struck a five-iron to 15 feet for a crucial birdie two.

Only Davies could offer any challenge to the dominant Swedes until she dropped shots at the 16th and 17th. The former British and US Open champion closed with a 71, and beat par for an 11th consecutive round. Superb golf, but on the day, not good enough.

Scores, Sport in Short, page 23