Thidapa Suwannapura fired a 6-under 65 on Sunday and then edged Brittany Linicome in a playoff to win her maiden LPGA title at the Marathon Classic.
Suwannapura, who entered the day three off the lead of Brooke Henderson, seemed to have knocked herself out of contention after a bogey on the 16th hole dropped her four shots back of Henderson, who had just birdied the 14th to get to 15 under.
But as Henderson was making back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 15 and 16 to drop to 13 under, Suwannapura closed eagle-birdie to reach 14-under par, which held up after Lincicome parred her way in and then lipped out for a birdie on the 72nd hole to also finish at 14 under.
“I did not think or expect that 14 would be good enough, because I know there were two par-5s coming in on 17 and 18, and it’s a good opportunity for them to make birdie,” said Suwannapura.
“I was just chilling in the clubhouse, you know, being silly and stuff, trying to relax, just watching the Golf Channel and see what they’re doing. Now, like, oh, I have to go warm-up and try to win the tournament.”
On the first playoff hole, Lincicome hit her tee shot into a fairway bunker, and her second shot into the water hazard guarding the front of the green. While Lincicome managed to save par, it wasn’t enough as Suwannapura drained a five-foot birdie to claim victory.
“I think it’s just everybody tries their best out here,” said Suwannapura. “You know, the golf course is not that easy. You know, she tried her best. I tried my best. I just feel like today the luck was on my side.”
Along with $240,000 and 500 CME points, the win earned Suwannapura a spot in the Ricoh British Women’s Open.
2018 MARATHON CLASSIC
TOP 10 LEADERS: ROUND 3
1. Thidapa Suwannapura -14 (-6)
2. Brittany Lincicome -14 (-4)
3. Brooke Henderson -13 (-2)
4. Austin Ernst -12 (-5)
5. Daniela Darquea -11 (-3)
5. Mirim Lee -11 (-3)
5. Emma Talley -11 (-3)
5. Jacqui Concolino -11 (-2)
9. Wichanee Meechai -10 (-5)
9. Sandra Changkija -10 (-6)
9. Caroline Hedwall -10 (-4)
9. Mina Harigae -10 (-3)
9. Mel Reid -10 (-3)
9. Celine Herbin -10 (-2)
9. Angela Stanford -10 (E)
MARATHON CLASSIC: FINAL-ROUND HIGHLIGHTS
HOW THIDAPA SUWANNAPURA SCORED A WIN
Driving: 247.3 yards
Fairways: 37/56, 66.1%
Greens: 54/72, 75.0%
Scoring: -14 (1 Eagle, 23 Birdies, 38 Pars, 9 Bogeys, 1 Double Bogey)
EXIT QUESTION FOR THIDAPA SUWANNAPURA
IK won this tournament last year at 21-under. And when Brittany came on to No. 18 and hit that putt, what was going through your mind at that time when you discovered you were going into a playoff round?
THIDAPA SUWANNAPURA: I was so excited. You know, I always feel bad that Brittany Lincicome didn’t make the putt, but at the same time that’s an opportunity for me to maybe win the tournament.
So I was just going out there, and just try my best out here. However it’s going to go, my way or not, I just have to try my best.
This is a developing report on the 2018 Marathon Classic. More to come.