CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — Australia’s Kristie Smith shot a 4-under 68 to overtake Italy’s Giulia Sergas and win the New Zealand Women’s Open on Sunday.
Smith finished with a 72-hole total of 12-under-par 276 to claim her first title on the Ladies European Tour. Smith, a former Australian amateur champion, turned professional in 2009 and won her first title last year on the Australian LPGA Tour.
“I am over the moon,” she said. “My goal this year was to win on the LET Tour and it’s nice to do it early. I think I will have to reassess my goals. They had been to finish in the top five on the LET money list and play well in the majors.”
Sergas, penalized a stroke after Saturday’s round for slow play, entered the final round with a four-stroke lead, but the Italian had two bogeys and a triple bogey on her first three holes to finish with a 76.
Sergas shared second place with American Tiffany Joh, a graduate student at UCLA who shot a 70 to move up five places in the final round Sunday.
Defending champion Laura Davies briefly led the standings Sunday before dropping back with a triple bogey on the fourth hole. She finished with a 77 and was eight strokes behind the winner.
Sergas entered the final round with a four-stroke lead, but had two bogeys and a triple bogey on her first three holes Sunday and shot a 76.
Sergas and American Tiffany Joh, a UCLA graduate student, tied for second. Joh posted a 2-under 70 in the final round.