The 2023 KPMG Women’s Irish Open concluded at Dromoland Castle yesterday in what has become its accustomed dramatic fashion.
Smilla Soenderby of Denmark won with an Eagle in a dramatic three way play-off down the 18th hole. That came after she had posted a course record 62 in playing her final round in 10 under par.
Smilla Tarning Soenderby wins the @KPMGWomensOpen with an eagle on the first playoff hole after posting a final round 62 (-10) 💥
Welcome to the winners circle Smilla 🏆#RaiseOurGame | #WIO2023 pic.twitter.com/OsKdDzeme4
— Ladies European Tour (@LETgolf) September 3, 2023
She was waiting in the clubhouse for the best part of two hours while her rivals came down the stretch, faltering and rallying to secure their own play-off spots.
Ann Van Dam of the Netherlands had led the tournament after 54 holes last year and did so again this time around but a missed two foot putt on 17 meant she needed a birdie on 18 to stay in the mix. In a bizarre incident, Van Dam also broke her driver on her way to the first playoff hole. Without any option for a replacement, she opted for a three wood, going on to outdrive Petterson and Soenderby, both of whom managed to find the fairway.
Here’s the bizarre incident that led to Anne van Dam’s driver breaking before the first playoff hole at the Irish Women’s Open. Seeking her first win since 2019, then this happens. She still gave herself a ten foot putt to match Smilla Sonderby’s eagle 3 but it lipped out. Cruel. https://t.co/cXvyO5rvVM
— Greg Allen (@gregallenRTE) September 3, 2023
Lisa Pettersson of Sweden finished Eagle, Birdie, Birdie, Par to make it three and the crowds all along the 18th fairway and gathered around the green could not believe their luck.
Over 10,000 came through the gates on Sunday, making for an overall attendance at the tournament of 30,000, a 20% increase on that of 2022 which itself was 25 per cent ahead of what had been the target.
Large numbers followed the six Irish golfers that made the cut this year, up from one in 2022 but as Leona Maguire, Olivia Mehaffey, Sarah Byrne, Kate Lanigan, Beth Coulter and Emma Fleming’s rounds finished, the crowd stayed on in the glorious sunshine.