Joanne Mills, from Sydney, won yesterdays Optus World Ladies Pro-Am at Coraki.
Joanne Mills, from Sydney, won yesterdays Optus World Ladies Pro-Am at Coraki.

Coraki tamed by Euro pro Mills

By Adam Hicks FOURTH time was the charm for golfer Joanne Mills. The European Tour player carded an even par 73 to win the $16,500 Optus World Ladies Pro-Am at Coraki Golf Club yesterday.

Mills has played in four of the five Australian Ladies Professional Golf Association events hosted by Coraki and was a course record holder as junior, but yesterday was her first professional win at the club.

“It feels pretty good,” she said yesterday fresh after the victory. “The way the conditions were it was a bit tough.

“The course was playing soft, no run and the wind got up a bit too which made it even trickier.

“I am elated to come out the victor today. “It is definitely a thrill.”

Mills collected $2250 for her one-stroke win over Karen Lunn, of Banora Point, and Suzie Fisher, of Coffs Harbour, who finished with a one over 73.

ALPG chief executive officer Warren Sevil said heavy rain through the week made the course conditions very testing.

“This is probably the longest the course has played in the five years we’ve been here,” he said.

“Because of the soft conditions, players were hitting longer shots into the greens because the balls were not running.

“It is a very testing course under these conditions. “Even par is a very good score around here.

“Some of the girls said this played longer than Kingston Heath played at the Australian Open a few weeks ago.” Playing it safe

Mills struggled early, going two over for the first five holes.

But she pulled those back with two birdies late on the front nine.

“I played it safe on the back nine,” she said. “A couple of putts lipped out.

“I thought they were in for certain but they came out.” “There’s always somebody in the field who seems to have a blinder and break par ... but I thought even par might be enough.”

There were still nine groups on the course when Mills emerged as the clubhouse leader.

“I’ve been a pro for going on 15 years now,” she said. “I don’t really get nervous watching the board but it is exciting waiting for everyone to come in hoping that no one has a got a better score.

“I came close in a couple of pro-ams in November and December but got pipped at the post.”

The Coraki Pro-Am is the last on the Australian women’s circuit this season.

“I’m happy to finish the summer of golf with a win and it’s a good boost for when I head back to Europe at the end of next month,” Mills said.

Sevil said the event was played without a hitch. “I’m just rapt that a club such as Coraki, with such a small membership, can raise the sponsorship and run an official event,” he said. “It is commendable.”

SCOREBOARD Joanne Mills, 73, Karen Lunn, Suzie Fisher, 74, Gwladys Nocera, Polly Travica, Leah Hart, Nancy Harvey, Tamara Hyett, 75, Melanie Homes-Smith, Dana Lacey, Karina Oerum, Sharon O’Neill, 76, Shani waugh, 77, Cherie Byrnes, Carmen Railton, Heidi McCulkin, 78, Vicky Thomas, 79, Katy Jarochowicz, Mianne Bagger, Karen Quinn, 80, Verity Knight, Christine Cavanagh, Ann Wilson, 81, Marousa Polias, Carmen Hajjar, 82, Angela Harris, 84, Wendy Berger, 85, Jennifer Sevil, 86.

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