Hong Kong: Thai teenager Saranporn Langkulgasettrin birdied the first hole of a sudden-death play to win the US$150,000 EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open.
The 18-year-old Phuket native tied the China LPGA Tour record with seven consecutive birdies on the way to a final round eight-under 64 over the Old Course at the Hong Kong Golf Club, a Golf Course Facility Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
Six shots off the pace at the start of the final round, Saranporn posted a three-day total of 11-under 205 to tie Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-han before claiming victory in extra time in the event that was co-sanctioned by the CLPGA Tour, Ladies Asian Golf Tour and the Taiwan LPGA Tour.
Saranporn’s second victory of the year and fifth CLPGA Tour title was worth US$22,500. It was her 15th win since turning pro in 2015.
Playing the 371-yard 18th hole in the play-off, Saranporn, winner of last month’s Sun Car Zhangjiagang Shuangshan Classic, found the green in regulation and holed her putt. With Chen making bogey after overshooting the green and failing to get up-and-down, a two-putt would have sufficed.
“It’s crazy. I shot eight-under in the final round and won the play-off,” said Saranporn. “Last year I lost by two shots (following a final round 65). This year I am better and even win the game. That feels amazing.”
Lee Hsin, the second round leader from Chinese Taipei, finished one stroke back in third after a 71, while Thai Nattagate Nimitponkul (67) was fourth.
Guangdong native Li Jiayun (71) was the top mainland China player in fifth place while defending champion Supamas Sangchan (71) of Thailand finished sixth.
Saranporn started the day tied for 12th. After getting to four-under at the sixth hole she then reeled off seven straight birdies from the eighth hole.
The feat tied the Tour record for most consecutive birdies set by Chinese Taipei’s Chen Yu-ju during the second round of the CTBC Ladies Classic in March. Saranporn, who finished with four straight pars, also tied her personal best score of 64 set last year when she won in Guangdong Province.
Chen, who won on the Japan LPGA Tour development circuit last year, started the day one shot off the lead. She opened with a birdie on the 322-yard first hole to get to nine-under. After a bogey at the 403-yard fourth she picked up four birdies to take a one-stroke lead through 14 holes. A bogey-four at the 16th hole, however, would prove costly.
“I’m a little disappointed but I played my best game today,” said 25-year-old Chen. “Saranporn is a very good player.”
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