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.
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