[GOLF] Pattaya – World No 11 Amy Yang from South Korea relied on her spectacular putts all week to claim her second Honda LPGA Thailand win at the Siam Country Club Pattaya Old Course on Sunday.
Rain and lightening concern may affect competition schedule of the US$1.6 Million tournament but it failed to slow down the 27-year-old who reigned at the par 72 6,635 yard course in 2015.
Yang was leading on 17 under after 13 holes in the third round on Saturday before darkness suspended play. She returned to complete the round on Sunday morning for a bogey free 65 heading to the final with 18 under and five shot lead. She showed no sign of nerves three hours later in the final by firing another error free 68 and a total 22 under-par-266, five ahead of 2011 Women’s US Open champion Ryu So Yeon and seven of Kim Sei Young, both also from the same country.
“I am beyond happy. Wasn't easy with rain delays and 4:00 a.m. wake-up calls two days in a row. But, you know, I stayed really patient out there, did my best,” said Yang whose last win also took place here. She has now won three LPGA crowns. She was also the second player to win twice here after Tseng Yani of Taiwan in 2011 and 2012.
“ It's always nice to be back here playing. I love this place. I love people here. And with my parents, spending time with them here, it's just great every time,” said Yang. She also set the tournament’s new record of 22 under, erasing the previous mark of 21 under by Suzann Pettersen of Norway in 2007 and Ai Miyazato of Japan in 2010. She won US$240,000 for the winner’s prize money.
Ryu shot a birdie on the 10th hole to fall three shots behind, the closet she got to Yang. The world No 7 had six birdies and two bogeys to sign off with a 68 and a total 271 while Kim followed two strokes behind at 273.
Defending champion Lexi Thompson with an ending 67 were at tied fourth with 2016 rookie of the year Chun In Gee and American Danielle Kang.
Thai No 3 Moriya Jutanugarn shot the fourth round 71 for 12 under-par-276 to settle at lone seventh, the best position by a Thai this year and her best finish in the tournament.
“I didn’t make some putts today but I’m quite happy with the way I play this week. Playing in the same squad with Yang and Ryu was fun. It made me feel quite relaxed out there,” said Moriya after her first top 10 finish since a fourth position in Arkansas last June.
Moriya also outshined her world No 2sister Ariya for the first time in the tournament. Unlike in the past she remained highly focused all four days.
“When you went out there and enjoyed the game, it helped you to perform well. I hope to maintain this attitude going to next week in Singapore,” added the 22-year-old Moriya.
Thai No 1 Ariya signed off with a 71 and a total 11 under-par-277 for a tied eighth along with world No 1 Lydia Ko, Mirim Lee of South Korea, Austin Ernst of the US and Jodi Ewart Shadoff of England.
“Everything was OK for me. I hit good tee shots but just missed some putts. The weather condition made it difficult for all of us. Not only for me,” said Ariya. Fourteen year old amateur Atthaya Thitikul shot a total 285 for tied 37th, three better than Thai No 2 Pornanong Phatlum.
Ko, playing in the Kingdom for the first time in three years, carded a 68 with no errors.
“ I played really solid on the weekend. I felt like I could have gone a little lower. Like all day today there were some putts that I just left in the jaw. If I hit it a little harder it would be in. I think whatever score you shoot, no matter what you shoot, there is always something you feel you can improve on. A big improvement from my week in Australia, so I'm proud of that,” said the world No 1 in her second event this year.