Saran­porn Storms to EFG HK Ladies Open Vic­tory

Thai­land’s Saran­porn Langkul­gaset­trin carded a re­mark­able bo­gey-free fi­nal round with eight birdies to storm past a high­qual­ity field to win her first EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open at the Old Course of Hong Kong Golf Club, writes Louie Chan.

HK Golfer - - Efg Hong Kong Ladies Open Review - Pho­tog­ra­phy by Daniel Wong

Start­ing the day tied for 12th, 18-year-old Saran­porn held steady un­til the eighth when she romped through seven straight birdies to pro­pel her­self straight to the top of the leader­board. A tight strug­gle at the top with Chen Szu-han and Lee Hsin of Chi­nese Taipei en­sued, and it was the for­mer who saved par at the 18th to earn a play­off with Saran­porn.

A rock-solid birdie at the first play­off hole gave the Bangkok-na­tive her first win in Hong Kong, be­com­ing the sec­ond Thai to win the US$150,000 cham­pi­onship af­ter Su­pa­mas Sangchan last year.

“Shoot­ing eight un­der and won in a play­off, it’s amaz­ing,” said Saran­porn, who also has qual­i­fied for the US Open and whose pro­fes­sional vic­to­ries in­clude last year’s PPT Thai­land LPGA Masters. It was Saran­porn’s third time com­pet­ing in Hong Kong , and she fell just two shots short in 2017. “I do love play­ing on this course be­cause ev­ery­thing about it is just so nice. I love the peo­ple and I love the food, and I feel great at this in­cred­i­ble place. My goal this year was to im­prove on my fi­nal score last year, and I re­ally went for it to­day, as I didn’t want to re­gret it later (if I didn’t).

“I shocked my­self, and I didn’t know what was hap­pen­ing, I just played. I was try­ing to make fairways and greens and hope­fully make some putts, but I never ex­pected to get those con­sec­u­tive birdies as I did,” added the wellde­served win­ner.

Hong Kong num­ber one Tif­fany Chan was al­ways on catch up af­ter two early bo­geys on the hottest day of the week. The LPGA rookie

teed off in the fi­nal group af­ter en­ter­ing the last day within three shots of the lead but strug­gled to build any mo­men­tum be­fore fin­ish­ing seven shots adrift in a tie for sev­enth on the Old Course.

Chan got one back at the ninth but was pulled back by yet another bo­gey at the next. Another bo­gey-birdie com­bi­na­tion on the 13th and 14th fol­lowed by four straight pars ended her cam­paign with a two over for the day, and a four-un­der-par to­tal 212 for the week.

“I gave my­self a lot of pres­sure to­day, and I couldn’t seem to find flu­ency in my game. Maybe I was a lit­tle ag­gres­sive while play­ing catch up, and ev­ery time I lost one, I wanted to make it up right away. I didn’t have the con­sis­tency I had over the first two rounds. You learn more from los­ing than win­ning and with LPGA tour­na­ments com­ing up, I will take this ex­pe­ri­ence with me and hope­fully be able to use it to help me keep my emo­tions in check dur­ing tough mo­ments,” said Chan.

Lo­cal ama­teurs Is­abella Le­ung and Michelle Che­ung showed their prom­ise with fi­nal fin­ishes of tied-23rd and tied29th re­spec­tively, mean­ing three Hong Kong play­ers en­joyed top 30 fin­ishes this week.

With a to­tal prize fund of US$150,000, the fourth edi­tion of the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open hosted a top-qual­ity field of 120 play­ers from 16 na­tions and ter­ri­to­ries across the globe.

Tif­fany fin­ished tied

7th as the lead­ing Hong Kong player

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