Swede Captures Algarve Ladies Open of Portugal


ALGARVE, Portugal -- Cecilia Ekelundh from Sweden successfully defended her title to make it back-to-back victories at the Algarve Ladies Open of Portugal.
The 27-year-old from Solvesborg posted a final round 67 (-5) to finish at 6-under-par (210) for the tournament, three shots clear of the closest challenger, the Tenerife Ladies Open Champion, Ludivine Kreutz from France.
After an opening round of 77 (+5), Ekelundh fought back with a second round 66 (-6) then finished with a magnificent 67 (-5). As well as prize winnings she was also awarded her second diamond ring, courtesy of Janico Joias of Lisbon. Fitting, as she is engaged to be married within the next two years, to Johan Aronsson, who acted as her caddy for the tournament.
Together the duo overcame the ferocious winds which swirled around the Gramacho Pestana Golf Resort in Carvoeiro all afternoon and Ekelundh produced some booming drives and scintillating iron play.
Gwladys Nocera from France, one of the overnight leaders, slipped back into a tie for third position at 2-under-par (214) after a 74 (+2) that included three bogeys and five birdies.
On a tough day for scoring, Cherie Byrnes from Australia fired a 1-over-par 73, with five bogeys and four birdies. That was good enough for a share of third position, while the runner up Kreutz, shot a final round 70 (-2).
Kreutz and Ekelundh both received invitations to play in the Sata Azores Open, in October, as a result of their top-two finishes. Yet this years crown once again belonged to Ekelundh, who admitted that the event had a special place in her heart, after she won her maiden professional title last year, when the event was played at Aroeira I GC in Costa de Caparicca, near Lisbon.
We have a saying in Sweden that goes, one win is never and twice is a habit, said Ekelundh, who admitted to feeling a little relieved after holing her final putt for par at the last, despite playing two groups ahead of Nocera.