Anne Van Dam delivered on her enormous potential as she romped to an eight-shot victory in the Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open in Spain on Sunday.
The Dutchwoman earned a new nickname – ‘Estrella Van Dam’ – after a dominant performance at Club de Golf Terramar, set against the stunning backdrop of the sparkling Mediterranean Sea.
The 22-year-old from Arnhem completed rounds of 64, 64, 65 and 65 for a 26-under-par total of 258 to claim her second Ladies European Tour title.
Caroline Masson, amateur Selin Hyun and Caroline Hedwall shared second place on 18-under after rounds of 66, 66 and 68 respectively. Ashleigh Buhai and Aditi Ashok tied for fifth on 16-under-par.
Van Dam had recorded five top-four finishes since her maiden LET victory in the 2016 Xiamen International Open in China two years ago.
Consistently the longest driver on the women’s tours, she had come agonisingly close to winning on several occasions. A short game masterclass with her coach during last week’s Evian Championship made the difference and in Spain, she outplayed a quality field of star LPGA players such as Azahara Munoz, Carlota Ciganda and Anna Nordqvist, who finished in seventh, eighth and tied ninth places respectively.
Reflecting on her performance, Van Dam said: “The first win was good because it was the first time I was in contention and I won it straight away, but this one makes it so much more special, because I came close quite a few times after China and was really hard on myself. I kept on working really hard and I think I proved this week that I’m not only a long driver of the ball, but my iron game is good, my wedge game is good, my short game is really good and my putting under pressure is the best it’s ever been.”
“I’m so pleased with the way I played, especially today. It was not easy, starting with a big lead and knowing that on this course, people can shoot nine-under."
Five clear overnight, she started the final round with a birdie, then cruised to victory with further birdies on the fourth, sixth, 10th, 12th, 13th and par-3 18th holes. Her only blemish came on the par-4 11th hole, where she flew the green with her approach shot, but it was only her second bogey of the week.
“It was nice walking up the 18th and beautiful scenery here with the sea and all the people. I will never forget it.”
With less than a year to go to The Solheim Cup at Gleneagles and Van Dam’s star rising, she must surely be on captain Catriona Matthew’s radar as a potential member of the European team.
From the Home Nations, it was Scotland who topped the leaderboard; Catriona Matthew finished in a tie for 13th position at 11-under after a closing round of 67, closely followed by Carly Booth at 10-under. England’s Ellie Givens and Amy Boulden from Wales both finished at 9-under in a tie for 21st place, whilst Felicity Johnson and Hannah Burke tied at 8-under. Meghan MacLaren had a somewhat up and down round with a string of bogeys and birdies to close the tournament at 7-under after a final round of level par.