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CTBC Ladies Classic
March 28th ~ 30th (Thu. ~ Sat.)
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2018 Taiwan LPGA Tour | Hitachi Ladies Classic Final-Round Recap

Supamas Sangchan of Thailand capitalized on a back-nine stumble by overnight leader Chang Ya-Chun (張雅淳) to come from behind and snare her biggest career victory at the tenth annual Hitachi Ladies Classic. This is her second TLPGA Tour win; the previous came at the 2017 EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open.

Sangchan, who pocketed NT$2.5 million for the win, snatched four birdies in the last seven holes and carded a 2-under 70 to finish at a combined 7-under 209 for the tournament. This is the third victory for her after turning pro in 2014.

“This is so unexpected. Last month when we competed on the same course (Orient Golf & Country Club) at the CTBC Open, I was cut after two rounds,” said Sangchan. “This is a great turnaround. I think the difference was that I was more used to the speed and slope of the greens now and made a few adjustments on my putting. Especially, late into today, after eleven holes, I just found something and was able to turn it on and I just kept it going. I’m really happy.”

Sangchan was as high as no.3 on the 2017 China LPGA Tour year-end rankings. She also had a decent 2017 season on the Ladies European Tour (LET) being ranked 25th on the order of merit. “China, Taiwan, and the European Tour will still be the priorities on my schedule this year, but I aim to try to qualify for the Japan Tour at the end of 2018,” said the Thailand native, whose first career title was earned at the CLPGA Tour and LET co-sanctioned Sanya Ladies Open in 2016.

Chang, who carried a two-shot lead coming into Sunday, widened her advantage to four shots through seven holes and was still three up at the turn.

Sangchan suddenly clicked into gear and came up with an inspired late charge, making three birdies in a row from the 12th to 14th to level things up, before the Taiwanese teen dropped three shots on Hole 15 to 17 to pave the way to victory for Sangchan.

Chang finished with a 3-over 75 and ended in solo second place at 212.

“I was too tensed up. It felt so close to the finish line but I started to overthink and overplay,” said Chang. “It was difficult to relax and I lost all the swing feel. I guess it’s all about experience after all. I will come back stronger.” Chang recorded just one birdie throughout the day and made four bogeys. Putting appeared to be a major weak point in Chang’s post-round statistics; she racked up a poor 38 putts compared to Sangchan’s 28 putts.

Playing also in the leader’s group, Yani Tseng (曾雅妮) required 35 putts. “I thought I had my chances. But I was constantly set back by some odd errors on the approach shots around the 120-yard mark. Putter didn’t counter well, either,” said Tseng. “Although the outcome was not the best, I was honestly pretty excited and happy all day. It’s been a while since I last played in the final group on the final day. There are some positive takeaways, I feel my driving and the overall control have improved a lot. It’s a good start to the year.”

Tseng finished with three birdies, along with four bogeys, and wrapped up the week on 3-under 213 after the final-round 73. She was eventually tied with Lee Min (李旻) (69), Babe Liu (劉依貞) (70), and Saranporn Langkulgasettrin (72) for third; each took an equal-third-place prize worth NT$665,000.

Japan LPGA Tour member Phoebe Yao (姚宣榆) used a Sunday 68 to rise into a tie for seventh with LPGA Tour campaigner Hsu Wei-Ling (徐薇凌) at a 54-hole total of 214.

Following the prize ceremony, main sponsor Hitachi announced the spectator count over the three-round event reached 8,512, contributing to a charitable donation amount of up to NT$6,381,600, which will be used to support the causes by nine local charity partners. Over the last decade, Hitachi Ladies Open has raised donation exceeding NT$48,380,000.

The Hitachi Ladies Classic is the first event on the 2018 TLPGA Tour calendar, co-title-sponsored by Hitachi, Johnson Controls-Hitachi Air Conditioning Taiwan, and Taiwan Hitachi Asia Pacific.


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