Lilia Vu started the final round of the LPGA Thailand a full six shots behind 54-hole leader and local favorite Natthakritta Vongtaveelap but a windy day and an amazing eight-under par closing round of 64 carried the former UCLA star to her first victory.
Vu got off to a fast start, making two birdies over her first three holes. Then a second run of five straight started at the eighth hole.
Another birdie t the par four 15th gave her a one-shot lead and four pars to close got the job done for the former UCLA star. That closing 64 took her to 22-under par, edging Vongtaveelap by a shot. Vongtaveelap, who took the lead after shooting rounds of 67-65-64, could only manage a 71 in the windy conditions on Sunday at the Siam Country Club.
Vu became a contender last season when she finished tied for third at three different events.
“Feels really good to get it done. I feel like I put a lot of pressure on myself at the end of last year, and during the off-season I kind of just changed my mindset. Like I always knew I was going to win, I just got to let it happen,” Vu said afterward. “The more you hold onto something I feel like it gets further away. I came close a lot towards the end of the last season, so I was just going to have fun and play my game and it would eventually work itself out.”
Thai rookie Vongtaveelap struggled to stay steady under pressure on day four in Chonburi, Thailand. The 20-year-old birdied the first, seeming to be in total control, but a bogey on the second appeared to rattle her a bit. A double-bogey at the par three fourth had her in struggle mode. She made the turn in one-over par 37.
World No. 4 and a huge crowd favorite, Atthaya Thitikul closed with 68 and took solo third at 20-under par. She had a huge crowd following her on Sunday. “I had a really good week this week in my hometown. Honda LPGA, it’s always special event in my career,” said the 20-year-old. “Had good, positive vibes here for finishing today as well. Not getting there, but all the process has been in the right direction.”
Former world No. 1, Jin Young Ko, who has fallen to fifth in the world rankings, may be back on course. She shot a final round 64 and tied for sixth at 16-under par. World No. 1 Lydia Ko and No. 2 Nelly Korda were also in the group at 16-under.
Marcel Siem Breaks Eight-Year Drought At Hero Indian Open:
Like Chris Kirk on the PGA Tour, Germany’s Marcel Siem ended his own eight-year victory drought Sunday at the Hero Indian Open.
Siem closed with a four-under par 68 for a 14-under par total at DLF Country Club in New Delhi to beat countryman Yannik Paul by a shot.
Siem won four times on the DP World Tour between 2004 and 2014 but has had to wait until now for DP World Tour crown number five, although he did win Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge on the European Challenge Tour in 2021.
The 42-year-old had to go back to the DP World Qualifying School last November. He entered the final 18 a shot behind overnight leader Paul but made four birdies over the first 11 holes to move two strokes clear.
“Winning a golf tournament, being back in the winner’s circle now, it means everything to me. It’s just unbelievable,” Siem said of the long-awaited victory.
“It was tough out there with Yannik, he played unbelievable. No room for errors. “Coming from top 20s straight to a win (is unexpected). My goal this week was a top 10. I never really had the feeling that this was my week. I played with Joost (Luiten) in Thailand, he finished third there, Yannik came with a top two from last week so I thought I needed to do something special to win this golf tournament. They played great, so well done guys.
“Now I can choose and pick where I want to go again, it makes life a lot easier. I can prepare properly on the golf course, it’s a life-changer. I just can’t believe it. It’s amazing.”
Luiten finished solo third at 12-under par.