Thailand’s PATTAYA (AP) — At the LPGA Thailand on Sunday, American Lilia Vu defeated local favorite Natthakritta Vongtaveelap by one stroke thanks to a hot putter.
25-year-old Vu made eight remarkable birdies, including five consecutive from the eighth hole, to finish her campaign with an impeccable round of 8-under 64 for a 22-under 266 total at Siam Country Club Old Course despite starting the day six strokes behind the local rookie.
“My dad told me yesterday that I could win with just one strong round. I couldn’t stop thinking about just that. After three third-place results in 2022, Vu said, “Basically today I just blacked out and attempted to birdie every single hole I could.
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The UCLA alumna finished third on the Ladies European Tour last week in Saudi Arabia after failing to advance farther.
I knew I was going to win, it was only a matter of when, and I did, she continued.
After Jessica Korda in 2018 and Lexi Thompson in 2016, Vu was the third American to win the competition.
Vongtaveelap was competing in her maiden LPGA event, and her inexperience cost her. The 20-year-old golfer shot a 1-under 71 and finished with a total score of 267 despite a varied final round that included seven birdies, a double bogey, and four bogeys.
After her birdie effort at the last hole dropped a foot shy from the pin, her hopes of forcing a play-off were crushed.
When former No. 1 Ariya Jutanugarn won the 2021 competition, Thailand will have to wait for a second homegrown victor.
Atthaya Thitikul, a different golfer from Thailand, finished third with a final-round score of 268.
The top-ranked Lydia Ko finished joint-sixth on 272, one place behind Maja Stark of Sweden and Celine Boutier of France.