Thailand’s Kanyalak Preedasuttijit won the Ladies European Thailand Championship on her home course at Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club in Pattaya on Sunday.
With rounds of 70, 68, 66 and 69, the 20-year-old from Chonburi posted a winning total of 15-under-par, earning 45,000 euros and a place in this year’s two European Majors: the Ricoh Women’s British Open and The Evian Championship.
She ended a stroke clear of 17-year-old Korean amateur Selin Hyun, who shot a sizzling 65 in the final round, improving by 10 strokes on her opening round of 75.
Fellow Thai player Chonlada Chayanun shot 69 and ended four strokes back in third place, but took home the second prize money worth 27,000 euros due to Hyun’s amateur status. Anne Van Dam from the Netherlands closed with a 71 to end alone in fourth on nine-under-par.
The final day was set up perfectly for a gripping climax. With a local golfer holding a four shot lead, the pack of players queuing up behind meant that nothing was guaranteed on the challenging Pattaya golf course, but no player would know the course better than the leader.
As the sun once again dominated the eastern seaboard skyline, plenty of players went low from the start of the day.
Thai player Arpichaya Yubol, 16, known as “Piano” was supported by her 13-year-old brother as her caddie and shot a 66 to end in fifth spot at eight-under-par.
Manon Molle from France shot a fine 67 and her scores improved dramatically over the weekend after she hired fellow Ladies European Tour professional Ariane Provot as her caddie, having pushed her own bag in stifling heat for the first two rounds. She tied for sixth with Thailand’s Supamas Sangchan, who won the Sanya Ladies Open in tropical Hainan, China, last year.
There have been various claims and reports that some Asian players follow a rigorous schedule and there is no greater example of this than Chayanun, who has played in 14 tournaments across various tours over the last three months, which served her well.
It was easy to see why Van Dam was strongly fancied to win, having lit up the course with her spectacular long game. However, things were not going her way on the greens over the weekend.
Meanwhile, Hyun, playing in her second Ladies European Tour event after last year’s Vic Open, where she missed the cut, said that putting was the best part of her game and this will surely mark the start of a stellar career.
Preedasuttijit, also known as “Bew” simply played the course to perfection and managed to control her emotions superbly in the stifling heat. The difficulty of playing in such difficult climatic conditions is that they can often test the emotions of the players and she personified calmness throughout the event.
She said: “I tried to control my own game and it was very consistent, so I felt confident. I had practised a lot at Phoenix, but I didn’t want to put pressure on myself so I didn’t look at the score.”
This was Preedasuttijit’s third professional title, following wins on the Thai LPGA and China LPGA last year, but she only turned professional 15 months ago.
The biggest factor in the end was the climate, with the relentless heat seeing many players flagging at the conclusion of the event. However, Sweden’s Lynn Carlsson coped well, firing a final round of 73 to share eighth with Thailand’s Aunchisa Autama and Pauline Del Rosario from the Philippines. Noemi Jimenez Martin, from Malaga in Spain, also finished strongly with a 69 to share 11th place.
However, Preedasuttijit was the pride of Phoenix Gold as she mastered the conditions and becomes the latest talent to emerge from Thailand following Atthaya Thitikul’s historic victory in the event last year.