The title was eventually decided when 15 year old Thailand golfer Atthaya Thitikul parred the 4th extra hole to take the title and earn starts at next week’s HSBC Women’s World Championship, the ANA Inspiration and the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
More importantly perhaps is that Thitikul becomes the first player to win an event that will play a key role in the ongoing development of female golf in the Asia Pacific region.
I’m so excited because this is the first year of this championship. It’s so great that my name is the first one on the trophy,” said Thitikul, who played in her first LPGA event at the Honda LPGA Thailand last February, when she just turned 14.
“My golf today wasn’t so good, even though I started so good and played well in the play-off," said Thitikul. "But I didn’t ever really get nervous because I came here to learn and get experience.
“Now, I’m so excited to play in two more majors. I’m really looking forward to returning to the Women’s British Open and I would like to make the cut this time, but my main objective is always to play happy and gain more experience.”
The four players involved in the playoff were New Zealander Wenyung Keh, Yuka Saso of the Philippines, Yuna Nishimura of Japan and Thitikul.
Keh went out at the first hole, Saso at the 2nd, and when Nishimura bogeyed the 3rd hole it was all over.
Last year Thitikul became the youngest player to win an event on the Ladies European Tour when doing so at the Thailand Championship.
This win gives her the opportunity to gain even further profile with starts at three significant LPGA Tour events in 2018.
Queenslander Robyn Choi finished as the leading Australian when she tied for 11th, with her fellow Queenslander Kirsty Hodgkins the next best in 20th place.
RACHEL BAILEY BUNKER LINE
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