Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum continued to lead early in the final round at the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
Phatlum, who led by one after the second and third rounds, is looking for her first Major and would become the second Thai player to win a Major after Ariya Jutanugarn, who won the 2016 Ricoh Women’s British Open and 2018 US Women’s Open.
The 28-year-old Phatlum, is seeking her 17th professional win and third LET title. She carded four birdies in her first six holes to reach 17-under. The championship record is 19-under-par 269, set by Karen Stupples at Sunningdale in 2004. In Gee Chun holds the record in a major with her 21-under-par total at the 2016 Evian Championship.
The early part of the final round was a two-horse race between Phatlum and Georgia Hall, playing in the last pairing.
Hall, from Bournemouth, England, is undoubtedly the crowd favourite. She birdied the first to move into a tie for the lead on 13-under, but Pornanong hit straight back by making a long birdie putt on the second hole. She then birdied the third, fourth and sixth holes.
However, Pornanong recorded only her second bogey of the championship on the par-4 eighth hole, after hitting her tee shot right into the long grass and playing out to the fairway. Hall had a birdie putt to tie for the lead but her effort came up short and the 22-year-old from Bournemouth was one back after eight holes.
Hall then made a solid sand save on the short ninth hole to be one behind Pornanong coming into the back nine.
WITH A WIN…
A win from Phatlum would give Thailand its second major champion of the year. Only the United States and the Republic of Korea have had multiple major winners in one season. (NOTE: Jenny Lidback won the 1995 Du Maurier Classic representing her birth country of Peru, but she held dual citizenship with Sweden. Annika Sorenstam, also from Sweden, won that year’s U.S. Women’s Open.)
Phatlum would become the third consecutive Thai player to win on the LET following Kanyalak Preedasuttijit (in Thailand) and Ariya Jutanugarn (in Scotland). She would also be the fourth Thai player to win this year on the LPGA.
Another Thai player, Atthaya Thitikul, has already been assured of winning the Smyth Salver as the leading amateur.