Qualifying quick bites

A dramatic weekend of action on the Ladies European Tour and LPGA Tour saw a number of potential Solheim Cup stars lay down a marker ahead of the Gleneagles showdown.

Spaniard Nuria Iturrios continued her remarkable run of form by claiming the inaugural OMEGA Dubai Moonlight Classic to make it back-to-back wins on the Ladies European Tour.

The 23-year-old did her chances of making Catriona Matthew’s Europe team no harm with the one-shot triumph a week after coming out on top at the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco.

ITURRIOS AT THE DOUBLE

Nuria Iturrios had already jumped 29 places up to ninth place on the Solheim Cup standings points list before touching down in Dubai after winning last week’s Lalla Meryem Cup.

And she took the momentum she had from her performance in Morocco to join a rare band of back-to-back Ladies European Tour winners with victory at the Dubai Moonlight Classic.

In what was the world’s first ever professional day-night golf tournament, Iturrios posted rounds of 68, 67 and 71 for a 10-under total on the Faldo Course at Emirates Golf Club.

The Palma de Mallorca native finished one shot ahead of her nearest rivals, Germain pair Esther Henseleit and Olivia Cowan, while Swedish Solheim Cup hopeful Caroline Hedwall was fifth.

Marianne Skarpnord of Norway, another player with her eyes on Gleneagles, also sneaked into the top ten with a final round of 71 to keep herself in the hunt for a place on the Europe team.

“It’s amazing to win again and I’m so excited,” said Iturrios, who moved up to fifth on the European Solheim Cup team points list – from which the top three players will qualify.

The Spaniard’s victory means she has also increased her lead at the summit of the LET Order of Merit, while Swede Lina Boqvist – second in Morocco – finished in a tie for 22nd.

THOMPSON LEADS USA CHALLENGE

While it was a more mixed weekend for those hoping to stamp their name on Juli Inkster’s USA teamsheet at Gleneagles, Lexi Thompson enjoyed another strong showing.

After opening the tournament with a 73, she bounced back with rounds of 70, 69 and 71 to finish in a four-way tie for fourth position and pick up more valuable Solheim Cup points.

Thompson was third in the points list before the weekend, with the top eight players booking their ticket to Scotland in September, and has only strengthened her position with a top-five finish.

Fellow USA Team contender Marina Alex, sitting seventh in the American Solheim Cup standings ahead of the Mediheal Championship, will also be satisfied with her tied-eighth finish.

She posted rounds of 74, 72, 70 and 68 to finish a shot behind Thompson and the rest of the group on four under, which included England’s Charley Hull – a potential Team Europe member.

Other notable American finishers were Megan Khang and Danielle Kang, who are both in the automatic qualifier berths for the Solheim Cup, with the pair coming in a tie for 18th.

Elsewhere, Europe’s Solheim Cup points leader Anne van Dam, of the Netherlands, finished in a tie for 35th in California after bouncing back from disappointing second and third rounds. 
 

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