(Pattaya – 8 May 2021): Rising Thai star Patty Tavatanakit – who started her third round today with a three-shot lead which she stretched to 5 at one stage – struggled to find form and finished only one shot in front after a nail-biting finish on the 18th hole at the Honda LPGA Thailand 2021.
A great chip from a bunker and a birdie putt on the 18th kept the 21-year-old Thai, Patty Tavatanakit, in the lead after her worst round so far, finishing the day with a 2-under 70.
Thai teenager Atthaya Thitikul was tied for second, one stroke back after her putt for eagle on the final hole lipped out.
Germany’s Caroline Masson was tied with Atthaya in second, with both players finishing on -17 overall, one stroke behind Patty’s -18.
Patty started the day with a birdie on the 2nd, but a double bogey on the 3rd and a bogey on the 9th allowed a big field of players to narrow the gap and catch her.
On her second nine, Patty began to find some touch and had consecutive birdies on the 14th and 15th, followed by another on the 18th.
“I’m proud of myself for hanging in there,” she said after her round. “My energy level was just not 100% today. I kept telling myself to keep executing my shots. I still have tomorrow to play. I still have a lot of holes to play.”
Patty said she wasn’t feeling her best when she started her round in the morning and it took her a while to get going.
“A little bit of a momentum change there when I made my putt on 14. I felt my head was a little clouded today. It’s going to be tough tomorrow. It’s not going to be easy. I just have to play my best. I’ll still be really proud of myself to have played some good rounds. I’m still a little nervous but I’m able to bring myself back to normal. I’ve been so tired every day, but I think I’ll sleep well tonight. I’m just going to relax.”
Atthaya, playing her first professional tournament in Thailand, carded a four-under 68, but her round didn’t start well. She bogied the 1st and 3rd, but bounced back with six birdies and almost stole the lead on the final hole.
“I was happy playing in a world-class tournament as a professional golfer,” she told the Thai media after her round.
She said she wasn’t nervous going into the final round on Sunday. “No matter what happens tomorrow and who wins, I will be happy and try to focus on my game and make good putts,” she said.
Germany’s Masson was in great form today, carding a five-under par 67, which included seven birdies and two bogies.
Tied in fourth place at -16 were Mexico’s Gaby Lopez, who finished the day’s round with a five-under 67, and former world number one Lydia Ko of New Zealand. Ko also carded a five-under par 67 on the day.
Ariya Jutanugarn, also a former world number one, finished the day in 9th at 13-under overall after sinking some monster putts on the difficult greens at the Siam Country Club.
Ariya’s sister Moriya is tied in 19th place after a good round of 66 pushed her up the leaderboard.
The Honda LPGA Thailand 2021 features 72 of the top female golf pros from around the world, including 10 players from Thailand: Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn, Patty Tavatanakit, Wichanee Meechai, Mind Muangkhumsakul, Pornanong Phatlum, Jasmine Suwannapura, Atthaya Thitikul, Pajaree Anannarukarn and Chanettee Wannasaen.
Thai women golfers have been making huge inroads in the international circuit, with Patty winning her first major at the 2021 ANA Inspiration in California, the first of five major professional tournaments on the women’s tour. Atthaya won the Ladies European championship as an amateur at the age of 14, the youngest player to ever win a professional tournament. Ariya became the first Thai golfer – male or female – to win a major championship and went on to hold the world number one ranking. All these women have been an inspiration to younger players in Thailand, where the game is going from strength to strength.
The Honda LPGA Thailand is the longest-running LPGA tournament in Southeast Asia and is one of the biggest sporting event in Thailand. The 2021 tournament features a strong field of top golfers who are chasing a purse valued at US$1.6 million, or 50 million Thai baht, and a Honda Accord Hybrid, Hybrid Tech variant valued at 1,799,000 Thai baht for the hole-in-one prize. The winner will receive prizemoney of $240,000, or 7.5 million Thai baht, the first runner up will get $148,877, or 4.8 million Thai baht, and the second runner up $108,000 or 3.4 million Thai baht.
The tournament takes place at the Siam Country Club Pattaya Old Course, Chonburi, one of the many world class standard golf courses located in Pattaya. This year’s event is being staged behind closed doors with no tickets sold and with no spectators allowed. The event is taking place with full adherence to internationally recognized Covid-19 protocols and in compliance with strict standard operating procedures, set out by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), and Thailand’s Department of Disease Control (DDC) with the support and guidance of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, and the Sports Authority of Thailand.