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2019 Taiwan LPGA Tour | SAMPO Ladies Open Final-Round Recap

Thailand’s Parinda Phokan claimed a second TLPGA Tour title in 2019 after a final-round 70 at the NT$5-million SAMPO Ladies Open. Her 54-hole total of 2-under 214 won her a winner’s check worth NT$900,000.

Taiwan’s Chen Hsuan (陳萱), who carded a low-round 5-under 67, surged to solo second, rewriting her best personal result after sitting in equal third last week at the Manila Golf Club.

Overnight leader, Taiwan’s Babe Liu (劉嬿) finished in a tie for third with Thai player Kanphanitnan Muangkhumsakul on 2-over par. Liu shot a 75 and the ill-feeling Muangkhumsakul registered a 74 on the final Friday at the Taipei Golf Club.

Teenager Hou Yu-Chiang (侯羽薔) got the low-amateur honor with a T9 finish on 6-over after a Friday 73. Wang Li-Ning (王莉寗) used a 74 today to sit in solo sixth on the final leaderboard.

Phokan claimed her first TLPGA Tour at the season-opening Hitachi Ladies Classic in January, in just three months, she’s now a two-time champion already. “It feels just special to come to Taiwan every time. I wasn’t doing too good in China this year, so I’m just very happy to be back in winning ways in Taiwan,” said Phokan, who finished 2018 as high as no.4 on the China LPGA Tour, but haven’t made much noise this year so far as she sits at no.22 on the order of merit.

“There was a bit of luck when I made that eagle on the short par-4 on the 9th,” the Khon Kaen native said, who sent the ball to 98 yards on the 360-yard ninth hole, before lodging the ball right into the cup using her 50-degree wedge, which helped her get out to a reasonable lead over compatriot Muangkhumsakul. Chen and Liu were three and four shots behind Phokan at the turn.

Muangkhumsakul, however, ran short of gas going into the back nine suffering from drug allergies and nausea. She needed to take intravenous liquids after the first round but insisted to play on.

Before she went onto the 15th tee, Muangkhumsakul asked for a toilet break as her heavy nausea became intolerable. She used her final ounce of concentration to birdie the par-5 15th hole, but couldn’t quite hold herself up anymore. She barely scraped through the final holes making one bogey and a double-bogey and was sent to the nearest hospital right away. Fortunately, Muangkhumsakul’s sick feeling was lessened after careful treatment.

Needing an unconvincing 30 putts, Babe Liu closed out the round with one birdie and four bogeys to sit back into a tie with Muangkhumsakul.

Opening the day five strokes off leader Liu and four shy of Phokan, Chen made three birdies through just six holes to get within three back of lead, but failed to produce further damage and dropped back to five behind Phokan when she made a bogey while the Thai scored birdie on the 12th.

What seemed like an advantage too far off to reach became a narrow one-shot edge when Phokan moved to the final tee, as Chen had just gone off from four-out-of-four birdie ride, which started with a 15-foot success on the 15th green, followed by another chip-in birdie on the 16th.

The first-year pro lagged to tap-in distance with a penetrating 9-iron attack on the second shot of the par-4 17th, before she completed her miraculous last few holes with a fourth consecutive birdie, rolling in an 18-foot right-to-left swinger. She waited in the clubhouse hoping Phokan would give her a play-off opportunity, but the five-time Thailand’s tour champion held firm.

Although Chen couldn’t lift her first professional trophy this week, a solo second finish has already bested her previous record of a T3 gained just last week at the Manila Ladies Classic.

The National Garden CC based player was the low-amateur in the first SAMPO Ladies Open in 2018. “My goal is definitely to get my first Tour win this season,” Chen said, who earned herself a NT$480,000 check and a special prize of a 3-piece SAMPO alliance set worth NT$70,000 as the best finishing Taiwanese.


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