Paul Reto might not have been playing the final round of the AIG Women’s Open at Carnoustie on Sunday with any real hope of winning it, but the South African who got into the field on Monday this week will be immensely satisfied with her share of 24th.
Ahead of her on the leaderboard, Anna Nordqvist of Sweden emerged the winner by one stroke at 12-under-par as she won her third major championship from Georgia Hall of England, fellow-Swede Madelene Sagstrom and American Lizette Salas.
For Reto, the final round represented a climax to a season in which she had limited status on the LPGA Tour, and scrapped impressively every time she got a start. And it was appropriate that she finished it off with a par on the notoriously difficult 18th at Carnoustie after the tough closing hole bested her in the third round when she made a double-bogey six.
After she had made three birdies – on five, 11 and 12 – she dropped her only shot of the final round on the 13th. But she held things together with pars all the way down the closing stretch which was the undoing of Nanna Koerstz Madsen of Denmark, who had a one-stroke lead after her birdie on 14. Bogeys on 15 and 18 cruelly put her out of the duel for victory with Nordqvist and saw her finish in a share of fifth.
For Reto, who experienced the disappointment of missing out on representing South Africa in the Olympics with what appeared to have been a false positive COVID-19 test, there is the knowledge that she will probably be able to play in the eight remaining LPGA tournaments before the CME Group Tour Championship in Florida in November.
She will play those secure in the knowledge that she held things together impressively in the final major championship of 2021.