Patty Tavatanakit wins in native Thailand with birdie on 18

Patty Tavatanakit tapped in a birdie putt on No. 18 to win the Honda LPGA Thailand on Sunday and capture her second her LPGA Tour win to the delight of her home nation.It was the first tour win for

Patty Tavatanakit wins in native Thailand with birdie on 18

Patty Tavatanakit tapped in a birdie putt on No. 18 to win the Honda LPGA Thailand on Sunday and capture her second her LPGA Tour win to the delight of her home nation.

It was the first tour win for Tavatanakit since her maiden victory at the 2021 Chevron Championship, and she had to perform under pressure to finish the final round with a 67 at the Siam Country Club Old Course in Chonburi.

Tavatanakit, 24, started the day with a three-shot lead, and when she made the turn after three birdies on the front nine, she appeared headed to victory. But two groups ahead of her, Albane Valenzuela of Switzerland was putting together a masterful round that put Tavatanakit on notice.

Valenzuela was five strokes back after she and Tavatanakit each finished the first nine holes. On the front side, Valenzuela posted an eagle and a birdie, then followed with six birdies on the back nine to finish the round with a tournament-low 63.

Birdies at No. 17 and 18 moved Valenzuela to 20-under for the tournament, forcing Tavatanakit to birdie No. 18 herself to avoid a playoff, and she did just that.

It was the first time Tavatanakit completed an event with four rounds in the 60s since her win at the Chevron.

Post-round, Tavatanakit said she was aware when she walked to the No. 18 tee that Valenzuela — who started Sunday in a tie for sixth place — had caught up to her.

Tavatanakit executed a perfect chip shot onto the green with her third shot on the par-5 No. 18 to leave her the tap-in for victory.

“It was just like that chip on 18 was just like a game with my friend where I just felt like, OK, like I need to make up and down to win the match,” she said. “Soon as it stopped about couple inches away from the hole, I was like, yep, I won.”

Tavatanakit said she experienced a range of emotions after the putt, which left her with the win and the $255,000 top prize.

“It was joy. It was — I felt so proud. And a little bit of — I felt a little tired, too,” she said after playing in 92-degree heat.

“But overall, you know, like, again, I had so much pressure on me today just playing in front of the home crowd, and I was able to do that. It was just like a dream come true. It was like unbelievable. Like I still couldn’t believe I did that today.”

Valenzuela finished one shot back and won $158,182.

Three shots behind Tavatanakit at 18-under for the tournament and in a tie for third were South Koreans Sei Young Kim (65 on Sunday) and Hye-Jin Choi (66).

Thailand’s Natthakritta Vongtaveelap (65) and Hyo Joo Kim (67) of South Korea tied for fifth at 17-under, and defending champion Lilia Vu (65) and Emily Kristine Pedersen of Denmark (68) were another shot back and tied for seventh.

It was a round to remember for Valenzuela, who is seeking her first LPGA Tour win.

“It’s funny, yesterday I felt a little bit more nervous,” she said after shooting her career low round as a pro. “Today I just had the sense of inner peace that I could do it. I was just foot on the gas and just tried to go get it. she said. “I’m just really just proud of myself. I just fought really hard and I just see that I can make putts under pressure.”

And Valenzuela said she hopes Sunday’s performance will translate into big things in the future.

“I want to be in this position more often, and I hope I’ll put myself in this position next time. It’s really fun. I think I’ve never enjoyed playing a Sunday as much as I did today just because of how calm I was,” she said. “I told my dad, I finally got out of my way and I really understood a lot about myself today. So really excited to keep this momentum moving forward in the season.”