JIANGSU, China – Thailand’s Saranporn Langkulgasettrin, 18, captured her first victory of the China LPGA Tour season on Saturday as the Thai teenager survived a late-round collapse to win the Sun Car Zhangjiagang Shuangshan Classic by one stroke in Jiangsu province.
Sitting at nine-under with a four stroke lead through 13 holes at Shuangshan Golf Club, the 18-year-old Saranporn then saw her game unravel in dropping four strokes over the next three holes. She then regained her composure to make par over the final two holes for a 71 and a five-under 211 score, one stroke clear of Chinese amateur Liu Wenbo (69), the defending champion.
Zhang Yue, a 17-year-old Chinese amateur, finished third at two shots back after closing with a 72. Thailand’s Kanyalak Preedasuttijit (72) was fourth at three shots off the pace.
Saranporn earned RMB120,000 for her 14th pro title. It was her fourth career victory on the CLPGA Tour after winning three times last year to finish atop the Order of Merit.
“The final round I felt a little bit nervous because I haven’t been in this position for few months. It’s great to be back on top again,” said the Phuket native whose round included five birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey at the 369-yard, par-four 14th hole.
“The 14th hole, the wind was blowing to the water. I made double because the ball dropped in the water for my second shot. After the double and two bogeys I just tried to focus on my shots.”
Starting the day at one-under, Liu posted a birdie on the first hole. She picked up another stroke at the 366-yard, par-four fourth before a bogey five at the eighth hole. With birdies at the 13th, 15th and 16th holes the 17-year-old got to five-under until a late bogey five at the 387-yard 17th hole.
The Beijing teenager admitted she had felt the pressure of defending the championship this week and being a good example for the other national team players in the field.
“The result has reached my expectation but I am still a little disappointed with the last two holes. I looked at the leaderboard while on the tee of the 17th hole, I wanted to get birdie too much but I missed it and made bogey,” said Liu who will represent China at the summer’s Asian Games in Indonesia. “The last hole, I didn’t know the green would be that hard. I hit it too much and didn’t make birdie.”
Hainan native Zhang said playing in the last group of a pro tournament for the first time had given her lots of confidence and would only help her in future.
“The changes and efforts I made last the few weeks worked this week. I learned a lot, about strategy making, mental fixing and the skills of putting,” said the Haikou resident.
Yin Xiaowen, the overnight co-leader who had the opportunity to become the youngest ever winner of a pro event, struggled in the final group. The 13-year-old Tianjin amateur came home with a final round 89 to finish tied for 56th playing in her fourth pro tournament.
Source: Al Campbell
Shuangshan Golf Club is a 6,317-yard, par-72 layout designed by Nelson & Haworth.
Sun Car Zhangjiagang Shuangshan Classic third round leading scores
Players are mainland Chinese unless stated *denotes amateur
211 – Saranporn Langkulgasettrin (THA) 68-72-71
212 – Liu Wenbo* 69-74-69
213 – Zhang Yue* 69-72-72
214 – Kanyalak Preedasuttijit (THA) 67-72-72
215 – Supamas Sangchan (THA) 73-72-70
216 – Li Xiya 71-75-70, Yang Taoli 73-72-71, Ren Yue 71-72-73
217 – Chayanun (THA) 70-76-71
218 – Wang Jiayi* 71-74-73