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2019 Taiwan LPGA Tour | Japan Taiwan Friendship Udon-Ken Ladies Golf Tournament 18– 20 Oct Final-Rou
Date:2019-10-20

Nook Sukapan of Thailand turned in a final-round 67 to win the 2019 Japan Taiwan Friendship Udon-Ken Ladies Golf Tournament, a co-sanctioned event by the Taiwan LPGA Tour and the Japan LPGA’s Step-Up Tour. Her final score of 11-under 205 is two shots clear of Taiwan’s Tsai Pei-Ying (蔡佩穎) (71), Japanese Naruha Miyata (71) and Tsugumi Miyazaki (66).

This victory is astonishingly the fourth in 2019 already for Sukapan, who confirmed her year-end no.1 status on the Step-Up Tour order of merit with only one event left on the calendar. She pocketed JPY3.6 million in the 20-million tournament held at the Mannou Hills Country Club in Kagawa.

Tsai and Miyata began the final Sunday at 8-under, while Sukapan, who also played in the last group, was two-shots off.

Tsai, who is ranked just behind Sukapan on the 2019 “JSU” Tour money list, scored a birdie on the par-5 2nd hole to get the upper hand at 9-under; Sukapan followed suit and soon found herself matching Miyata’s pace at 7-under as the latter dropped a shot on the fifth hole. Miyazaki, with her fourth birdie of the day on the 10th, joined the three-way tie for second.

After the turn, Sukapan birdied hole no.10 to hold the solo second place, which seemed to inspire her confidence as she performed a three-birdie run from the 13th to 15th that lifted her into the outright lead by two shots. Tsai, who just missed a 9-footer for birdie on the 12th, tumbled after a three-putt bogey on the 13th green from 18 feet. Meanwhile, Miyata continued to struggle, making her second bogey on the 12th to go down at 6-under.

“That was key. If that 9-footer went in, it might have brought me some much-needed momentum, instead, I became too tight, blowing another birdie chance on the 15th,” Tsai said.

Sukapan gave her playing partners some final hopes as she fell back to 10-under on the par-3 17th, when Tsai and Miyata were at 8-under, needing an eagle on the par-5 18th to force the play-off, which wasn’t to be. In the end, all of them concluded with a birdie, as well as Miyazaki, who completed with a low-round 66, bogey-free. Sukapan secured the win by two shots.

With the runner-up finish, Tsai is in great position to end the season as the 2019 “JSU” Tour no.2, which would promote her into the main Japan LPGA Tour at least for the top half of the 2020 season. Her next events would be Kyoto and Taipei’s LPGA Taiwan championship.

Miyazaki, as the best-finishing Japanese, won a TLPGA Tour invitation into the Hitachi Ladies Classic, the season-opening tournament in 2020.

Huang Ching (黃靖) started off promising, making three birdies and one bogey outwards and sit just two strokes behind Sukapan at the turn. But the back-nine turned into a total nightmare; she double-bogeyed the 14th and ended up in equal 10th with final-round 1-over 73.

Chen Szu-Han (陳思涵) carded 71, finishing in a tie for 22nd at 2-over 218. Other Taiwanese who made it into the final round included Lee Chia-Pei (李佳霈) in T34, Chang Ching-Ling (張靖翎) in T43, and Hsieh Yu-Ling (謝瑀玲) in T50.

Asuka Ishikawa took away a JPY300,000 special cash prize, provided by Nishino Kinryo, for her eagle on the 18th hole today.

Sukapan was awarded a special entry into the Fujisankei Ladies Classic (main JLPGA Tour), and will be sent directly into the third-stage of the JLPGA Tour qualifying event for the next season. Nishino Kinryo offered a year’s worth of Japanese Sake as a bonus winner prize.

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