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Rising Swede Stark wins Women’s NSW Open

Maja Stark has cemented her status as a new star in world golf, claiming a third Ladies European Tour title in nine starts as a professional with a five-shot victory in the Women’s NSW Open.

The 22-year-old LET season money leader closed with a four-under-par 68 at Coolangatta Tweed Heads Golf Club to win at 15-under 273 from fellow Swede Johanna Gustavsson (71).

The title followed Stark’s second placing in last week’s Australian Women’s Classic and victories in Sweden and Spain late last year.

Argentina’s Magdalena Simmarcher had a closing 71 to be third at 10 under, while Australian rookie pro Cassie Porter (73) tied fourth with Scotland’s Michele Thomson (72) one shot further behind.

Fifteen-year-old Gold Coast amateur Sarah Hammett completed a stunning fortnight by shooting a closing 67 to be tied eighth at six under, backing up her top-10 LET finish at the Australian Women’s Classic at Bonville.

Stark’s win was not as comfortable as the final scores made it look, with Gustavsson closing within one shot when her rival dropped a shot on the 12th.

However, Gustvasson was unable to convert birdie chances at the 12th and 13th, then dropped shots at the 14th, 15th and 16th to fall away.

“I am very happy, super happy to get my third win,” Stark said.

“I don’t hit it that bad on the range but then I come out on the course and I was wide off the tee again like usual.

“I got a little bit stressed out, and Johanna was playing so good, but then I calmed down a bit.”

Stark sealed the deal with a birdie on the last to join the list of champions which includes England’s Laura Davies (2008), Su Oh (2009 and 2010), New Zealander Lydia Ko (2012) and fellow Swede Caroline Hedwall (2011 and 2013).

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