The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

American Lilia Vu storms to her maiden LPGA title in Thailand


American Lilia Vu claimed her maiden LPGA crown with a one-shot victory over home favorite Natthakrit­ta Vongtaveel­ap at the LPGA Thailand on Sunday.

Trailing the local rookie by six strokes at the start of the day, 25-year-old Vu unleashed eight impressive birdies, including five straight from the eighth hole, to finish with an immaculate round of 8-under 64 and a 22-under 266 total at Siam Country Club Old Course. Vu’s first tour victory came after three third-place finishes in 2022. The UCLA alum came up short again at the Ladies European Tour in Saudi Arabia last week, where she settled for another third place.

“I knew I was going to win, it was just when ... and I finally did,” she said.

Vu became the third American to triumph in the event after Lexi Thompson in 2016 and Jessica Korda in 2018.

Playing her first LPGA tournament, Vongtaveel­ap’s lack of experience took a toll with the 20-year-old golfer enduring a mixed final round featuring seven birdies offset by a double bogey and four bogeys to sign off with a 1-under 71 and 267 overall.

Her hope for forcing a playoff was dashed after her birdie attempt at the last landed a foot away from the pin. Thailand will have to wait for a second local winner after former No. 1 Ariya Jutanugarn prevailed in the 2021 edition.

Another Thai golfer, Atthaya Thitikul, was third after a final-round 68 got her to 268. Maja Stark of Sweden and French Celine Boutier settled at joint fourth on 271, one ahead of top-ranked Lydia Ko, who tied for sixth on 272.

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