DUBAI // Iben Tinning rolled back the years on the Majlis Course yesterday to capture the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters and sign off as a touring professional in triumphant style.
The Dane had not won a tournament since topping the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit in 2005 and she feared that she would drift tamely into retirement after this season-ending event at Emirates Golf Club.
She was delighted to recapture vintage form, however, and held off the challenge of Sweden's Anna Nordqvist and England's Melissa Reid to secure a final payday of €75,000 (Dh364,000).
Her victory yesterday contrasted sharply with one of the lowest points of her career, when she was edged out on the same green in 2007 by Annika Sorenstam.
"This is one of my favourite courses and favourite destinations," she said. "It took me a long time to get over that disappointment in 2007. This makes up for it. I'm so happy."
Tinning's winning margin was two strokes thanks to an impeccable birdie at the 72nd hole, which took her to 11-under par. But it was anybody's guess which of the three women at the top of the leaderboard would prevail as they approached the last hole.
Nordqvist, playing in the pairing ahead of Tinning and Reid, stood over a makeable birdie putt to claim a share of the lead. As on several other occasions over the past two days, she missed and had to settle for a closing aggregate of 279, nine-under par for her four rounds.
Then Reid faltered, too. Knowing she needed to make birdie to have any chance of winning, she hammered her drive into the trees, allowing Tinning to take a little of the aggression out of her tee shot and land it safely on the fairway.
The most precise of lay-ups to within 10 yards of the lake in front of the last green set up Tinning's clinching chip to 15 feet, Reid failing to get out of trouble and finishing with a bogey six which relegated her to third place.
Even then she had a two-stroke cushion over the chasing pack which was led at six under by the first-round leader Florentyna Parker, of England, and the fast-finishing American Christina Kim.
Michelle Wie, of the US, also ended the week strongly, posting the best round of the day, a bogey-free 67, to climb into joint-sixth place.
Tinning, 36, was grateful to have her husband, Lasse, carrying her bag as the tension mounted.
"I told him to keep talking to me, not about golf but any other story he wanted to tell. My mind was going crazy and he kept me on course," she said.
The tradition is for champions to defend their titles but Tinning effectively dismissed that notion, confirming that she intends to stick with her plan to retire to spend more time with her son, Mads, and rest a hip injury. "It is not an option to make a comeback," she said. "I'm on so many painkillers that it's no fun any more.
"I felt a really bad pain on the 16th and I am just so happy that I got through it and finished the job so that I could hold this special trophy."
Rarely can a score of 80 have been the cause for as much celebration as that enjoyed by South Africa's Lee-Anne Pace at the end of a productive year of five titles.
She never looked like making it a sixth win here but was thrilled to maintain her position at the top of the Ladies European Tour money list after the only woman who could overtake her, the veteran Laura Davies, picked up a modest €6,500 for a share of 19th place.
The first player from her country to achieve the honour, she was asked what was the highlight of her season. "Today, possibly," was the reply which showed how much it meant to her.
Player Score Par
Iben Tinning 277 -11
Anna Nordqvist 279 -9
Melissa Reid 280 -8
Florentyna Park 282 -6
Christina Kim 283 -6
Michelle Wie 283 -5
In-Kyung Kim 284 -5
Lydia Hall 285 -4
Julieta Granada 286 -3
Gwladys Nocera 286 -2
M’anne Skarpnord 286 -2