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2018 Taiwan LPGA Tour | EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open 11– 13 May Final-Round Recap
Date:2018-05-13

Saranporn Langkulgasettrin of Thailand birdied the first play-off hole to complete a near-miracle come-from-behind win at the 2018 EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open. She began the day at 3-under and 6 shots off the pace, but carded a final-round 8-under 64 with an astonishing seven birdies in a row from the 8th to 14th which helped her force a play-off and finally lifted the title.

The seven straight birdies sets the most consecutive birdie count at the Old Course of Fanling Hong Kong Golf Club as well as her personal best, although the records won’t be kept as official ones because the week was played under the “preferred lies” rule. Langkulgasettrin totaled eight birdies through regular 18 on Sunday, bogey free, and added a ninth birdie in the play-off hole with Taiwan’s Chen Szu-Han (陳思涵).

Chen, leader by one stroke through 14, dropped to 11-under and tied with Langkulgasettrin after a 7-iron misplay that resulted in a bogey on the 16th. “I was too nervous at that point to attack. So I tried to play safe but still my second shot on the par-5 17th got trapped in the bunker. I did my best to save par, but I knew I just missed probably the best chance to avoid a play-off,” said Chen, her inability to sink the 21-foot birdie putt on the final hole brought Langkulgasettrin back on the 18th tee to break the tie.

Under pressure, Chen’s first shot flew over to the left side roughs, and then dunked the ball past the green on the second. Despite managing to chip the ball to nine feet from the hole, Chen couldn’t close on her first try and ended with a bogey. Meanwhile, Langkulgasettrin, who sent her ball to just 6 feet on the second shot, calmly delivered the winning birdie putt. The win is worth $22,500.

This marks Langkulgasettrin’s third TLPGA Tour victory and fifth on the China LPGA Tour. The Thai has now boasted one TLPGA Tour triumph each year since 2016 (winner of the ICTSI Philippine Ladies Masters in 2016 and the KENDA TIRES TLPGA Open in 2017). Her most recent title came just three weeks ago at the Zhangjiagang Shuangshan Classic on the CLPGA Tour.

“I was extremely concentrated today although it’s been quite tiring with the hot weather. I tried to take the heat and thought of it as I’m playing at my home country which is usually very hot as well,” said the 18-year-old Thai. “I was surprised there were so many fans watching us. I appreciate their support. I felt like I had to really bring out my best golf. Many thanks to my caddie who helped me a lot today under tough conditions. Also thanks to my dad who’s with me this week!”

Chen, a play-off winner of the 2016 Route-Inn Cup on Japan’s Step Up Tour, failed to take the upper hand this time. “I didn’t play bad; in fact, it’s been a while since I’ve made it in the 60s throughout all tournament. I think this was actually the first time I did it this year,” said Chen, who had five birdies and two bogeys to wrap it up with a 69.

Overnight leader Lee Hsin (李欣) of Taiwan carded a 1-under 71 today to finish at 10-under 206 and solo third. “This was only my second time playing in the last group on the final day. It was really tense,” said Lee. “Looking back, it was a pity that I made that bogey on the first, otherwise I think I played okay as the game went on. I could have made a couple more birdies and potentially win, but I’ve learned a lot this week with my coach Huang Yu-Chen (黃玉珍) as my caddie. We’ve been experimenting some new things and I feel almost like a new player. Mentally, it’s been a big breakthrough, so I couldn’t ask for more!”

Nattagate Nimitpongkul of Thailand fired a 5-under 67 to take the solo fourth spot at 8-under. Chinese Li Jiayun (黎佳韵) sit in solo fifth at 7-under 209.

Home girl Tiffany Chan carded a disappointing final-round 74 and fell into a tie for seventh at 4-under 212 with Taiwan’s Chen Cih-Hui (陳慈惠) (68), Chen Yu-Ju (陳宇茹), Korean Jang So Young (72), and Thailand’s Kanyalak Preedasuttijit (71).

First-round leader Hsieh Yu-Ling (謝瑀玲) dropped three shots in the last two holes and slipped out of the top-10 to an equal twelfth finish. Also at T12 was Taiwanese amateur Chen Hsuan (陳萱), who was the low amateur of this year’s event.

The $150,000 EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open is a three-way co-sanctioned event by the TLPGA, China LPGA and the Ladies Asian Golf Tour (LAGT).

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