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By Brian Keogh
Denmark's Smorum Golf Club won the European Ladies' Club Trophy. Picture: EGA
Lahinch were pipped by Denmark's Smorum Golf Club in their bid to become the first Irish club to win the European Ladies' Club Trophy in Hungary.
Chloe Ryan, Sinead Sexton and Aine Donegan were just two strokes behind Germany’s St. Leon-Rot Golf Club heading into the third and final round at Balaton Golf Club.
But while the Lahinch trio held a four-shot lead over the Germans as they turned for home and led the field by two strokes with three holes to play, they ended the day shot behind the fast-finishing Danes on 18-over.
Smorum had a heroine in Louise Markvardsen, who came home in blistering, five-under 31 for a title clinching 68 and the best score of the day.
With Natacha Host Husted carding a 73 they finished a shot ahead of the Co Clare side on 17-over par 449
Donegan and Ryan shot level par 72s as Sexton's 76 was discarded giving them a third round total of 144 to Smorum’s 141.
As a result, Lahinch took silver on 450 with five-time winners St. Leon-Rot Golf Club third on 451 after shooting 147 in the final round.
The German club had a chance of a sixth victory when European Young Masters champion, Paula Schulz-Hanssen birdied the 16th and 17th holes. But a double-bogey on the 17th from Laura Kowohl proved costly however, as the German club came up two strokes shy.
Iceland's Hulda Gestsdottir was the leading individual by seven strokes from Markvardsen on two-over with Donegan tied fifth (77-77-72) on 10-over.
Ryan (82-73-72) tied for seventh, a shot further back on 11-over with Sexton (79-77-76) joint 11th on 16-over.
Irish clubs have not always participated in an event that was first played in 2001 and Lahinch's runner up finish is the best on record by an Irish club.
Aideen Walsh, Sarah Cunningham and Niamh O'Dwyer were seventh in Lahinch’s first appearance in the event at Pravets Golf Club in Bulgaria last year.
Co Louth Golf Club (2003), Ennis (2008), Royal Portrush (2009) and Kilkenny (2016) all finished 12th on their appearances in the event.
AIG Senior Cup winners Galway Golf Club will represent Irish golf in the European Men's Club Trophy at Golf Du Médoc Resort from October 24-26.