(DUBAI Sunday 14th December 2008) Germanys Anja Monke triumphed at Annika Sorenstams farewell tournament on Sunday, shooting a final round of four-under-par 68 for a three shot victory at the Dubai Ladies Masters, the season-ending event on the Ladies European Tour.
The 38-year-old Sorenstam signed off in joint seventh place after a final round of 71. In typical style, she rolled an eight foot birdie putt into the cup on the 18th hole before a packed gallery of her golfing colleagues.
There were whistles and cheers from the gallery as she finished, before raising her putter in the air and hugging her caddie of nine years, Terry McNamara. There were only a few small tears and Sorenstam kept her composure.
It means a lot. When you get that kind of respect from the players it breaks your heart, Sorenstam said. I felt it today and it was very special.
Sorenstam steps away with 89 career titles, including 10 major championships, which is more than any other female professional golfer.
The Swede, who won the first two Dubai Ladies Masters titles in 2006 and 2007, will get married to Mike McGee in January, leaving tour life to focus on her business interests and start a family.
image_1158940346447.jpegThe 31-year-old Monke, from Hannover, finished with a 72-hole total of 275, 13-under-par, on the Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club.
Im feeling very happy, said a wet Monke, after being splashed with water by her colleagues and accepting the first prize cheque of 75,000 from Mr Abdullah Kalban, president and CEO of Dubal.
I mean, I had to play my game no matter what or where the focus is. I just tried to focus on my game and of course I heard the big applause when she was hitting her shot into the 18th green. I was on the 16th green at the time. And then we saw her actually finishing it off on 18. We hit our tee shots by that time and so I could at least see a little bit.
Monke began the final round with a two shot lead over Denmarks Iben Tinning and birdied the par four second hole to move to ten-under-par. She was neck and neck with Veronica Zorzi after an early charge from the Italian but reeled off three birdies in a row from the 10th to establish a two shot lead.
After carding a solitary three-putt bogey on the 15th, she took a birdie at the next hole and was able to claim the tournament with two pars to finish.
image_1158940346447.jpegThis was Monkes second win as a professional, following the Vediorbis Open de France Dames in late September, but her biggest as the event featured the joint third largest prize fund on the 2008 Ladies European Tour schedule.
Zorzi, the two-time Vediorbis Open de France Dames champion, closed with a 69 for a 10-under total and finished in second. Englands Laura Davies shot a last round of 69 to finish one shot back in third.