Laing denied first professional win after last-hole bogey

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MUSSELBURGH’S Vikki Laing has her sights set on a strong finish to the golf season after coming close to a maiden professional victory in the Sanya Ladies Open in China.

The 30-year-old led by a shot with a hole to play at Yalong Bay Golf Club in Hainan but closed with a bogey after finding a bunker with her approach.

She finished on ten-under-par 206, one behind Australian Frances Bondad, who birdied the last to pip the Scot.

Laing was understandably disappointed to miss out on the title but a third runner-up spot inside two seasons on the Ladies European Tour was still her best performance of 2011 by far. “I’m really happy with my round,” she said. “I’d have taken four-under standing on the first tee so, other than that, I played pretty well.

“I just missed it a little bit right on 18 and got unlucky with the bunker: it plugged and was up against the face.

“I was nervous all day, pretty much. I knew that I was leading coming down the stretch. I was just trying to stick to my game and, for the most part, I’m pretty happy with it.

“I finished fifth here last year as well so I enjoy this golf course. It’s nice to be in contention coming down the stretch and hopefully I’ll keep having more opportunities.”

The performance earned Laing around £17,700 and a leap of 39 places to 58th on the Henderson money-list on the LET.

Her card is now secure for another year. “It took that to get my butt in gear this week, but I’m certainly happy with the week,” she said.

Laing now moves on to another event in China, the Suzhou Taihu Open, this week before the LET season draws to a close with events in India then Dubai.