ZHUHAI, China – Thailand’s Yupaporn Kawinpakorn laid claim to her first China title on Saturday when the Thai closed with a 73 for a two shot victory at the CLPGA Zhuhai Heritage in Guangdong province, China.
The second-year pro from Samut Prakan province finished on even-par 216 to earn RMB30,000 at the China LPGA Tour event.
Chinese amateur Dong Linyu finished runner-up after the teenager finished with a round of even-par 72 over the Colin Montgomerie-designed Zhuhai Golden Gulf Golf Club layout.
Saranporn Langkulgasettrin, the CLPGA Tour Order of Merit leader, was equal third at four shots back after closing with a 73, tied with fellow Thai Mookharin Ladgratok (72), Malaysian Aretha Pan (74) and Chinese amateur Yin Ruoning (72) and Shanghai’s Li Xiya (73).
Yupaporn, the overnight leader who went into the final round with a two shot lead, did just enough to maintain her cushion throughout the day. Her round included five birdies, including three straight starting from the 142-yard eighth hole, three bogeys and two double bogeys.
“It’s so great to get my first CLPGA Tour win. This is my first year playing here and I’ve been missing cuts from the beginning of this year, four events continuously. I was struggling with my ball striking and I couldn’t help hitting the ball into the hazard. Now I have got everything together, it’s come along pretty good,” said the 26-year-old, a college standout at Kansas University.
“I spent a lot of time looking at what I could have done better with all the cuts I missed. I went back to the problems to see what I can do better. I talked to my coach and kept believing in myself. If I have won tournaments before I think I can do it again.”
The victory was Yupaporn’s sixth as a pro and second this year. In January she won an event on the Ladies Philippines Golf Tour, while last year she won four times on the National Women’s Golf Association Tour, a feeder circuit in Florida.
“My putts were good today and I made several long ones. My tee shots were not as good as yesterday. I thought I won’t win today because I saw lots of people go to Saranporn’s group. I thought maybe she could get like five-under, maybe I can be the second,” she said.
“On the last hole I saw my friends, including Saranporn, were holding water bottles. I thought ‘am I winning this?’ After the last putt, they came to me and I know I won.”
Dong, who has committed to play for Texas Tech University this fall, started the day three off the pace but never mounted a challenge. Her round included two birdies, two bogeys and nine straight pars over the Golden Gulf back nine.
For her efforts in her first pro tournament she won three prizes as runner-up, best amateur and top Chinese player.
“My goal was to win the best amateur. I haven’t imagined to be the second place, the result is much better than I expected,” said the 19-year-old Dong. “I learned a lot from these three days. I will practice more on my short irons later.”
Defending champion Saranporn Langkulgasettrin never seemed to be able to shake off the jetlag after competing in last week’s US Women’s Open and enduring a marathon flight to get here. She was never in contention this week but finished a respectable equal third to keep her lead atop the CLPGA Tour Order of Merit.
The Phuket native put her performance down to feeling sick in the practice round for the US Women’s Open, something she had been battling that ever since.
“It was because of the food there. I was not used to the fast food. Even the rice was not the same as in Asia. In the final round in the US Women’s Open I was too tired and felt sick,” said Saranporn who has won twice this year in China.
“After the 54-hour trip (to Guangdong) I was too tired. I keep sitting and my legs are hurt. I just want to have a rest and fix my body.”
Source: Al Campbell
Zhuhai Golden Gulf Golf Club is a 6,320-yard, par-72 layout designed by Colin Montgomerie.
CLPGA Zhuhai Heritage third round leading scores list, visit clpga.org