Ariya Jutanugarn produced a final-round 63 to overcome a five-shot deficit and claim victory at the Honda LPGA Thailand.
Beginning the day five strokes off the lead, the 25-year Thai came out firing on all cylinders, carding three-straight birdies on her opening holes, then going back to back, twice – first on Nos. 6 and 7 then 9 and 10. She added another gain on 12 and then closed with a final-hole birdie to reach 22 under.
“I want to say honestly (I felt confident) after first hole, because, you know, like the green is pretty narrow 1st hole, and normally I’m going to be struggle to hit it on the green because I not really have good commit,” said Jutanugarn.
“I’m thinking about miss the shot, but somehow today I’m not thinking about miss the shot and I hit it so good on the green, two-putt, birdie.
“And second hole I miss my second shot and make long putt, and third hole I hit it like this close. I’m like, you know what, today is going to be good day because I just have to keep do what I have to do, keep commitment.”
In the clubhouse at 22 under, play was suspended for over an hour due to rain. Upon resumption, Atthaya Thitikul, who was playing in the final group, was in the fairway on 18, and needed an eagle to win or a birdie to force a playoff with her Thai compatriot.
The 18-year old reached the par-5 green in two but then three-putted to finish 21 under, one stroke short of Jutanugarn, who earned her first victory in 1,507 days.
“On the putting green I wanted to watch how they play so bad. I want to know because I feel like I have to go playoff anyway, but my caddie stop me by doing that,” said Jutanugarn, who sat through the weather delay with her sister, Moriya.
“He’s like, You watch or you not watching them play the result not going to change. How about you just putt and practice? And I’m like, Okay, I do it. So I putt, keep putt, and he walk to me and give me a hug, so like, oh, I win the tournament.”
The 54-hole wire-to-wire leader, Patty Tavatanakit, faded early from the top spot after bogeys on No. 6 and 9 while a double on the 12th completely derailed her chances. The reigning ANA champion did close with two birdies to post 70 and tie So Yeon Ryu (64), Amy Yang (64) and Angel Yin (66) for third-place on 20 under.
“It was worth the trip. It was worth the time. It was worth everything. I’m just really glad I’m played here and played great, too,” said Tavatanakit.
Chella Choi (67) and Hannah Green (68) finished T7 on 19 under, with Green notching her third-straight top-10 result.
“Shot 4-under today. Wish I could have capitalized on the last hole, but I think with a little bit of a break kind of was hard with the delay,” said Green. “But if you told me that I was going to come in the Top 10 at the start of the week I probably would’ve taken it. Seeing the forecast with the heat and the possible storms, I’m very happy.”
Gaby Lopez (70) and Caroline Masson (71) rounded out the top 10 in a tie for ninth on 18 under.
2021 Honda LPGA Thailand
Top-10 Leaders: Final Round
Pos-Player-To Par-(Rd 3)
1. Ariya Jutanugarn -22 (-9)
2. Atthaya Thitikul -21 (-4)
3. So Yeon Ryu -20 (-8)
3. Amy Yang -20 (-8)
3. Angel Yin -20 (-6)
3. Patty Tavatanakit -20 (-2)
7. Chella Choi -19 (-5)
7. Hannah Green -19 (-4)
10. Gaby Lopez -18 (-2)
10. Caroline Masson -18 (-1)
Material from the LPGA Tour Communications was used to compile this report.