Australia’s Sharyn Renshaw has continued her affinity with the $30,000 New Zealand Open by capturing her second singles crown in three years in Auckland earlier today.
In a timely reminder to the national selectors, who will convene in Sydney next month to plot Australia’s course to the Delhi Commonwealth Games, Renshaw overcame experienced Kiwi international Jan Khan, 21-19, to capture her first grand prix title of the year and her seventh of her career.
With the slick Henderson greens running at close to 18 seconds, the conditions threatened to play havoc with the finalists, but the St Johns Park star held her nerve.
Jumping out of the blocks, Renshaw raced to a 15-5 lead as she peppered the jack with regular monotony to steal the running from the Black Jacks ace, who had been in slashing form all week.
While Renshaw appeared to have the title in her grasp, a dramatic change in conditions, which saw fierce winds start to lick the Auckland greens, opened the door for Khan and she gleefully accepted.
Having closed the margin to 19-20, Khan was on the brink of pulling off the greatest heist since Ronnie Biggs, before Renshaw played the most defining shot of her GP career.
With Khan holding one, and with two at the back, Renshaw went for broke on the backhand as she miraculously sat the shot bowl, and in the process, staved off certain defeat had she missed by millimeters.
While Khan still had one final effort, she was unable to convert, handing Renshaw her second singles title in three years.
"I’m pretty happy right now," the 48-year-old said.
"I was pretty determined (leading into the tournament). But I felt good, nice and relaxed, and I had nothing to lose.
"I guess it goes to show that I can do it under pressure.
Click here for full results from the New Zealand Open.
New Zealand Open results
Women’s singles final
Sharyn Renshaw (AUST) bt Jan Khan (NZ) 21-19
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS