Stacey Keating bounces back for dramatic play-off win


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The Independent Online

Australia's Stacey Keating secured her first Ladies European Tour victory following a sudden-death play-off against Caroline Masson at the Tenerife Open de España Femenino.

Keating holed a five-foot putt on the first extra hole to beat Germany's Masson after the pair had tied on a nine-under score of 279 in regulation play at Golf Las Americas.

The 26-year-old managed to rein Masson in after surrendering a one-shot lead yesterday, the German dropping three shots in four poor holes across the front nine today.

"It was a tough day out there and Caroline and I both played well," Keating said. "It was nice to take it to a play-off and then get over the line.

"All day it was very close and Caroline holed some putts when she needed to so it was nice and it's always nice to birdie the play-off hole."

Masson hit her second play-off shot into a water hazard, with her third coming up short in the rough, and the South African Women's Open champion was emotional afterwards. She said: "If you hit the worst shot of the week in a play-off it's a bit unlucky. If you hit a shot like that you don't deserve to win and Stacey played well. She made birdie and just congratulations to her."

Early tournament leader Nikki Garrett rallied to pick up five birdies today but had to settle for fourth place behind Britain's Trish Johnson after carding 281 overall.

Johnson said: "To shoot five under on the last day in pretty tricky conditions, you've got to be fairly happy. I'm a little bit disappointed to come up one short, I guess. You know the greens are slow but to be fair to them, they are slow but you can hole some putts: you've just got to hit them harder than you're normally used to.

"I thought if I could finish birdie, birdie, birdie, I might have a chance, which obviously I did."

Spain's Carlota Ciganda took a four-way share of fifth place after picking up six birdies between the fifth hole and her last today.

The victory for Keating, in her second year as a professional, will go some way towards consigning to history last week's British Open, in which she was disqualified for signing an incorrect score when lying in a tie for 32nd place.

She paid tribute to her caddie Darren Peters, who is also her boyfriend, along with her mentor, the seven-time major winner Karrie Webb.

"I've probably had the worst week of my life and the best week of my life in two weeks," Keating added. "It was very disappointing last week but this makes up for it, I can tell you. It will be all forgotten, last week.

"After the disappointment of last week she [Karrie] has been great. Her and Karen Lunn, I have to mention her as well. They've both been unbelievable.

"I don't like to say, the veterans out here, but they've been great and they really have helped me, and Kaz has been great out here this week."