Malaysian golfer Ashley Lau takes salute at Big Open

Malaysian Ashley Lau, returning to her adopted home of Australia for the first time since graduating high school in Brisbane in 2017, won the Women’s Big Open by one stroke under dramatic circumstances.

Lau, 23, sunk a 12-foot birdie putt on the final hole at Thirteenth Beach on Sunday for a 6-under 66, reaching 12-under 277.

However, victory was not certain as defending champion and former world No. 1 Jiyai Singh was not yet on the course.

The great Korean, who has won 64 professional tournaments around the world, hit a clutch three-wood on the 18th green for a brave birdie from 30 feet after having trouble off the tee.

Not that Lau could see that.

“Jiyai was on the last hole and one guy kept updating me on where she was hitting and I thought, ‘I know, I can’t do this,'” the Malaysian player said. Ta.

“I was very nervous. I had never been this nervous before, so I went for a walk and talked to my friends. It made me feel a lot better.”

The tension finally subsided when Lau was informed that Shin had just missed a putt.

Shin, 69, finished in second place with 278 points, one stroke behind compatriot Cho Jeong-min.

The top Australians were Carice Davidson, 73, and Sarah Jane Smith, 71, who tied for fifth with 282.

Davidson, who started the final day tied for the lead with Singh, appeared to be in a good position for victory, but three bogeys in her final 10 holes curtailed her challenge.

Lau attended Year 11 and 12 at Hills International College in Brisbane. Another former student at the school is Jason Day.

She then moved to the United States and had a successful college career at the University of Michigan.

Sunday’s win at the Vic Open was the first of her professional career after finishing third and second the past two weeks on Australia’s WPGA Tour.

“Malaysia has always been my home, but I’ve always called Australia my second home, and now obviously America is my second home too,” Lau said.

“Australia has a special place in my heart and I have since I was in high school.

“It’s great to be back after seven years and see so many old faces and old friends again.”

Seven-time major champion Carrie Webb had a good weekend, finishing in a tie for 11th place at two under with rounds of 67 and 70.

The former world number one captains the Australian women’s team, which will not play at the Paris Olympics, but has only made occasional appearances on the professional stage in recent years.

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