ZHUHAI – Thailand’s Saranporn Langkulgasettrin captured her second victory of the China LPGA Tour season on Friday when the Thai teenager closed with a dominant eight-under-par 64 performance to win the CLPGA Zhuhai Heritage by six strokes in Guangdong province.
The 17-year-old Phuket native, winner of last month’s Wuhan Challenge, finished on 17-under 199 over the Colin Montgomerie-designed Zhuhai Golden Gulf Golf Club to earn RMB30,000.
Chinese amateur He Muni closed with a 68 to finish equal runner-up with Chinese Taipei’s Peng Chieh (69). Thailand’s Dussavi Soopimjit (65) was fourth at the RMB200,000 event, a new tournament with a low purse designed to give Chinese players and others from around the region more competitive playing opportunities.
Chiang Rai native Ploychompoo Wirairungrueng couldn’t build on her opening round 67 that gave her a share of the lead with Saranporn and closed with a 74 to finish equal 10th at 14 strokes back.
Starting the day with a one stroke lead, Saranporn played flawless golf in producing a round featuring six birdies and an eagle two for her 11th win as a professional. Her 17-under 199 score tied the China LPGA Tour record for lowest 54-hole winning score. The feat matched those set by Carlota Ciganda at the 2012 Suzhou Taihu Ladies Open and Park Sung-hyu at the 2015 Hyundai China Ladies Open.
For Saranporn, her eight-under round was a personal best.
“Compared to the other wins, this is the lowest score I have shot. The whole week I was playing golf the way I expected. My shots, my driver were good and putting was good. I was really confident in my putter. I didn’t expect an eight-under score,” she said.
Saranporn said she knew victory was hers when holding a three shot lead she made a surprise eagle two at the 338-yard 15th hole where her approach found the cup from 137 yards out against the wind.
“I thought it was over the green as I saw the ball roll and disappear. I thought it rolled off the green but the people at the green were yelling ‘In the hole, eagle’.”
Peng, playing in her third event since turning professional, never mounted a challenge to Saranporn as her erratic round began with three consecutive bogeys starting at the second hole. She then rebounded to post an eagle three at the 471-yard seventh hole, five birdies and another bogey at the last.
“After three bogeys in a row I just began to play freely. I need to review what I did from the last group. Why could I play stress-free golf out of the gate? My weak point is inconsistency. Hopefully I can play better in contention next time,” said the 23-year-old who recently graduated from Mississippi State University. “For four years in college I didn’t play from the final group. I was older than her (Saranporn), but I was really a rookie against her.”
He, a freshman at the University of Southern California, put herself in the conversation to be part of the Guangdong team for September’s National Games when the 18-year-old impressed in the final group, closing with a bogey-free round featuring four birdies.
The teenager expressed her admiration for Saranporn and her ability to build on her leading score.
“It’s not a piece of cake. It shows that she has greater mental game. I was far away from the trophy. However, it’s the best finish when I came back home. It’s a good step forward as far as the National Games is concerned. I am excited now.”
Zhuhai Golden Gulf Golf Club is a 6,183-yard, par-72 layout designed by Colin Montgomerie.
Source: Al Campbell