Returning to the Tour after a stint at home in Western Australia, Rudgeley started the final day strongly to push herself into contention for a first professional title, the 22-year-old making five front nine birdies to turn in 30.
Rudgeley then hit a speed bump with back-to-back bogeys at the 12th and 13th, but the Mount Lawley Golf Club member recovered those two dropped shots with birdies at the 15th and 16th to reach 15-under for the week.
Rudgeley was unable to make a birdie at the par-5 closing hole to miss the three-way play-off for the title between Smilla Tarning Soenderby, Lisa Pettersson and Anne Van Dam by one shot.
“I’m proud of myself, it’s my first year. I’m happy I went back home as it sorted a few things out. It was a solid week, I didn’t do too much wrong,” Rudgeley, who signed for a final round 67, said.
“It was my first time in this situation as well and good to be able to push all the way to the end. I loved it and it was good to be in contention.”
Denmark’s Soenderby claimed the trophy with an eagle on the first hole of sudden death, but the drama began before the play-off got underway.
Omg. Just brutal.
Feel terrible for the official also. I’m sure she feels horrible. Tough situation for everyone.
— Monday Q Info (@acaseofthegolf1) September 3, 2023
Being driven to the tee for the play-off, Van Dam and a rules official lifted a gallery rope to drive under only for her driver to be snagged and snapped. The Dutch player, who led by three going into the final round, still managed to reach the play-off hole in two but couldn’t convert to hand Soenderby, who shot a final round 62, her maiden Ladies European Tour title.
“I’m not quite sure what happened in the play-off. I hit a good drive,” Soenderby said. “It was a very long drive compared to the first round there.
“Then I had 178 and just wanted to hit a 5-iron to the middle of the green and missed it a bit left. It sounded like I almost holed it and then the putt went in. I didn’t think my score was enough when I got into the clubhouse, but it turned out to be enough.
“It means so much. I could see first that I had been in that position last year, so I knew how to handle those emotions and feelings on the 18th fairway, so I knew what to do and I did it.”
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