Former Women's Golf Standout Munoz Defeats Former Teammate Nordvist at the Madrid Ladies Masters
Oct. 3, 2009
By: Ladies European Tour
Azahara Muñoz, a recent alum of the Arizona State women's golf team, won the Madrid Ladies Masters on her professional debut on Saturday, beating LPGA Major Champion and fellow former Sun Devil Anna Nordqvist at the first playoff hole.
The 21-year-old from Spain tied with the Swede on 16 under when she shot a final round of nine under 64 in perfect scoring conditions at Club de Golf Retamares.Nordqvist, playing a group ahead, had shot a flawless career low round of ten-under 63, featuring 10 birdies.
The pair re-played the 470 yard par-five 18th and Muñoz defeated Nordqvist with an eagle when she hit a six-iron to 20 feet from 193 yards and rolled in the putt for eagle.
Nordqvist, 22, who is still only a rookie, played her second shot over the green and missed the returning chip.
Muñoz won the 2009 Ladies British Amateur Championship at Royal St David's in Wales in June, defeating fellow Spaniard and Sun Devil Carlota Ciganda in the final.
She turned professional just two weeks ago prior to finishing second at the first stage of LPGA Qualifying School.
The Malaga player received an invitation to play in the limited field event and was planning to attend Ladies European Tour Q-school in December but she can now skip it, since with her winner's cheque for 50,000 Euros, she has earned the right to a three year exemption on the tour.
'I can't believe I won. It's like a dream come true,' said Muñoz, who turns 22 next month. 'This is just the beginning. I'm going to keep on practicing and trying to get better.'
She and Nordqvist were teammates at Arizona State University in the United States for two years and Muñoz felt that she had improved tremendously since going to America.Starting the day in a share of fifth at seven-under, Muñoz bogeyed the first hole but birdied the fourth, sixth, seventh and ninth.
She eagled the par-five 10th when she hit driver, three-wood and putted from just off the edge of the green. Her birdie putts at the 11th, 15th, 16th and 18th were all from inside six feet and at both the 15th and 18th holes she hit the ball stone dead.
'I've been putting well all week but I've been hitting the ball pretty bad. Today I hit the ball much better and I hit it much closer and I kept on making putts. That was the key,' said Muñoz, who became the 13th first time winner this season on the Ladies European Tour.
Her win - the third by a Spaniard this year - confirmed her status as a rising golf star.
Nordqvist said: 'Congratulations to Azahara. She played great. I shot 10-under and gave myself a good chance. I'm happy with my game. I thought I hit a lot of good shots the first couple of days and hit good putts but they wouldn't drop and today I hit them closer. I got the putter going and that's always going to help.'
Munoz graduated with a 3.98 in psychology from ASU last May after concluding a successful career. Munoz, a four-time All-American, was the 2008 NCAA Champion and led the Sun Devils to their first NCAA team title in 11 years last season. Nordqvist, who turned professional last January, was a two-time All-American while with the Sun Devils and was named the 2007 NGCA Freshman of the Year.