South Africa's Cara Gorlei teeing off at the 7th during Saturday's play in the Women's Irish Open at Dromoland Castle, County Clare. INPHO/BEN BRADY

Superb Sunday for Soenderby

It was a spectacular final day for Smilla Tarning Soenderby as she secured a dramatic playoff victory at the 2023 KPMG Women’s Irish Open.

 The Dane headed into the final day in a tie for 21st place after rounds of 71-67-72 on the first three days at Dromoland Castle.

A 10 under par 62 secured Smilla Tarning Soenderby a three-way playoff in the Women's Irish Open at Dromoland Castle, which she won.

 But Soenderby fired the round of her life – a 62 (-10) – to post the clubhouse lead and was later joined by Sweden’s Lisa Pettersson and Anne Van Dam of the Netherlands.

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 The trio headed back to the 18th hole for the playoff where the 23-year-old reached the green in two and sunk her eagle putt to secure her maiden title on the Ladies European Tour.

“I’m not quite sure what happened in the playoff! I hit a good drive,” said the newest LET winner. “It was a very long drive compared to the first round there.

 “Then I had 178 and just wanted to hit a 5-iron to the middle of the green and missed it a bit left. It sounded like I almost holed it and then the putt went in. I didn’t think my score was enough when I got into the clubhouse, but it turned out to be enough.

 “It is redemption, after the 18th last year I said I’m okay to not be in the playoff because I’m not sure I’m ready to be in that position and I’m ready for it now.

 “It means so much. I could see first that I had been in that position last year, so I knew how to handle those emotions and feelings on the 18th fairway, so I knew what to do and I did it. Well done to Lisa and to Anne as well.”

 Earlier in the day, Soenderby got off to a hot start with birdies on the first, third, fifth, seventh before adding another on the ninth to make the turn in 30 (-5).

 The Danish player continued to build her momentum rolling in three more on the trot on 10, 11 and 12 before dropping her only shot of the day on 14.

 However, she soon picked up where she left off with birdies on 15, 16 and 18 to finish with a flourish and set the clubhouse lead on 16-under-par.

 “It is my best round; I think what went the most right was in my head and the mental game for sure,” she explained.

“It wasn’t my best ball-striking ever at all, I maybe hit two good shots striking wise. I was just in play from the tee, and I hit them onto the greens, and I hit some good putts and out of nowhere I was 10-under.

 “I love this place, it’s probably my favourite place to be. I was really looking forward to it, I was very calm and just happy all week. I knew I could score low as well and I knew it was coming today. My mum sent me a text last night and said, ‘burn up the course today, go low I know you can do it’. I did some meditation last night and through the morning and it was very easy for me to be aware of where my head was at and still have control.”

 As the Dane approached 18 green in her final round, she thought about last year’s tournament where she made a three-putt and missed out on an opportunity to win, however it was a different story this time around.

 She added: “When I hit it up in the front of the green on 18, it was similar to last year and I hit it in the fringe, and I’ve really been comfortable with hitting from the fringe. My speed was perfect on that one, but I had my coach’s voice in the back of my head.

 “Last year I could barely grip my putter, whereas this year I was more calm. I always start getting nervous on the eighth hole and I just got used to the nervousness. I was in the same position last year so just knew how to handle it.”

Lowry is Ryder pick for Rome

Shane Lowry will contest his second Ryder Cup in Rome later this month after being named as one of six wildcards by the European captain Luke Donald, according to reports Monday.

Missing the cut at the Czech Masters last week meant he could not qualify automatically, but the County Offaly man was still widely tipped to be one of Donald’s wildcards.

Lowry drop 17 places in the world rankings this year, but Donald has noted his enthusiasm for the competition and his energy around the team room.

Sepp Straka, Nicolai Højgaard and Ludvig Aberg will make their first appearances. Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose have also been chosen.

Rory McIlroy, Matt Fitzpatrick, Robert MacIntyre, Tyrrell Hatton, Viktor Hovland, and Jon Rahm were the automatic selections.

After the announcement was made on Monday Lowry said: "I'm incredibly proud and grateful, and very excited for Rome. The last one hurt a little bit, and I’m excited for a home Ryder Cup. I’m very grateful that Luke has given me the opportunity to go there and show what I can do again.''