HONG KONG – Thailand’s Saranporn Langkulgasettrin has won the EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open on Sunday when the Thai teenager birdied the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to beat Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-han at Fanling.
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 Hong Kong Golf Club Old Course to finish on 11-under 205.
Saranporn’s victory, her second of the year and fifth CLPGA Tour title, was worth US$22,500. It was her 15th win since turning pro in 2015. The US$150,000 tournament was co-sanctioned by the CLPGA Tour, Ladies Asian Golf Tour and the Taiwan LPGA Tour.
In the extra session, Saranporn, winner of last month’s Sun Car Zhangjiagang Shuangshan Classic, quickly ended it when her second shot found the green on the 371-yard final hole. She then putted in for birdie.
“It’s crazy. I got eight-under in the final round and won the playoff,” said an elated 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 very amazing.
“In the playoff I shot the ball on the green and the position was the same as the first time (in regulation). I made two putts the first time. After Chen’s bogey I told myself two putts and make par is okay. Then I putted in and got a birdie. That’s really, really good.”
Chen, who held a one-shot lead through 14 holes until a bogey four at the 200-yard, par-three 16th hole, overshot the 18th green. She then chipped within 15 feet of the pin but could not convert to prolong the playoff.
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 at three shots off the pace.
Guangdong native Li Jiayun (71) was the top China mainland player in fifth place. Defending champion Supamas Sangchan (71) of Thailand finished sixth at six shots back.
Saranporn started the day tied for 12th at six strokes back. After getting to four-under at the 495-yard sixth hole she then went on a tear reeling 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.
“The score ties my best record in the final round of the CLPGA Zhuhai Heritage last year. I shocked myself too,” said Saranporn.
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 five at the 403-yard fourth she picked up four birdies to take a one-stroke lead through 14 holes. The bogey four at the 16th hole, however, would prove costly.
“I’m a little bit disappointed but I played my best game today,” said the 25-year-old Chen. “Saranporn is a very good player, she is stable.”
Chen Hsuan of Chinese Taipei was the low amateur as the teenager closed with a 71 to finish equal 12th at eight strokes back. Malaysian amateur Winnie Ng, the first round co-leader, struggled to a final round 76 to sit two shots further back.
Source: Al Campbell
The Hong Kong Golf Club Old Course is a 6,246-yard, par-72 layout.
EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open third round leading scores
Players are mainland Chinese unless stated *denotes amateur
+ Saranporn Langkulgasettrin won in a first hole playoff
205 – Saranporn Langkulgasettrin (THA) + 73-68-64, Chen Szu-han (TWN) 67-69-69
206 – Lee Hsin (TWN) 69-66-71
208 – Nattagate Nimitpongkul (THA) 72-69-67
209 – Li Jiayun 68-70-71
211 – Supamas Sangchan (THA) 69-71-71
212 – Chen Chi-hui (TWN) 74-70-68, Chen Yu-ju (TWN) 73-68-71,
Kanyalak Preedasuttijit (THA) 73-68-71, Jang So-young (KOR) 68-72-72,
Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching (HKG) 69-69-74
213 – Chen Hsuan* (TWN) 70-72-71, Parinda Phokan (THA) 72-69-72,
Hsieh Yu-ling (TWN) 67-72-74
214 – Chan Tzu-yi* (TWN) 72-72-70
215 – Hana Wakimoto (JPN) 75-73-67, Sharmila Nicollet (IND) 73-72-70,
Sui Xiang 70-73-72, Kuo Ai-chen (TWN) 74-69-72,
Aretha Pan (MAS) 71-71-73, Connie Chen (RSA) 67-72-76,
Winnie Ng* (MAS) 67-72-76