Maja Stark broke the course record with a 10-under par 63 on Sunday to win the ISPS Handa World Invitational in Ballymena, Northern Ireland.
Stark collected six birdies on the front nine and finished with 10 during his bogey-free round. She finished 20-under-par 271 for the tournament to be five strokes ahead of LPGA Tour rookie Allisen Corpuz (68) at Galgorm Castle Golf Club.
The victory was Stark’s first on the LPGA Tour and fifth on the Ladies European Tour. The 22-year-old is the 13th player from Sweden to win on the LPGA Tour, and the first since Anna Nordqvist at the 2021 AIG Women’s Open.
“I’ve been so nervous all day, reminding myself to stay calm,” Stark told Eurosport.com. “That was easier said than done.”
That didn’t seem to be a problem for Stark, who had a 31st on the turn and wasn’t seriously threatened Sunday to collect a career first-place check for $225,000. The win also earned the former Oklahoma State star membership on the LPGA Tour without having to qualify.
“I hate qualifying so (I’m) so thankful I don’t have to,” Stark said.
The event is tri-sanctioned by the LPGA Tour, the Ladies European Tour and the DP World Tour. A field of 132 men also played on the same courses, with men and women competing for identical purses of $1.5 million.
Scotland’s Ewen Ferguson secured his second DP World Tour win of the season after recording a wire-to-wire victory in the men’s field. He shot a 1-under-par 69 on Sunday to finish 12-under 268 to win by three strokes over Spain’s Borja Virto (68) and Scotland’s Conner Syme (68).
As for the women’s field, Corpuz took second place after recording six birdies against a bogey on Sunday.
England’s Georgia Hall shot her second straight 70 to finish third at 14 under, one stroke ahead of Sweden’s Linn Grant (69), Norway’s Emily Kristine Pedersen (70) and Chinese Taipei’s Peiyun Chien (71).
England’s Liz Young (69) finished at 12 under for the tournament, one stroke ahead of LPGA Tour rookie Amanda Doherty (74) and Lauren Stephenson (66). Doherty was bidding to become the first player since Thailand’s Patty Tavatanakit at the 2021 Chevron Championship to win in wire-to-wire fashion.
Yeah, I got a lot of confidence,” Stephenson said. “When you can play well, I wasn’t really worried about the finish, I just made as many birdies as I could and just got a lot of confidence. I wasn’t sure I was going to play, so to come out with a hopefully top 10 is really a nice confidence boost going back to the States.”
–Field Level Media