Golf

Thai rookie Patty Tavatanakit holds off Lydia Ko to win first Major

After going to bed with the lead for three straight nights, Patty Tavatanakit was never going to look back.

The 21-year-old rookie from Thailand shot a four-under 68 and completed a wire-to-wire victory yesterday morning (Singapore time) at the ANA Inspiration, the LPGA's first Major of the season, at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California.

By finishing at 18 under (66-69-67-68) for the event, she outlasted a furious charge by Lydia Ko, who set a women's Major record with a final-round 62. Ko settled for second place at 16 under.

Tavatanakit is the first rookie to win the Inspiration since 1984, and the first LPGA player to make the Inspiration her first career victory on the Tour.

"I just wanted to be done since this morning," Tavatanakit said. "Didn't get a lot of sleep last night, but I meditated twice this morning and just (stayed) patient. It was gonna be hard out here. I knew I gotta be really strong mentally."

Tavatanakit, who entered the final round with a five-stroke lead, chipped in for eagle on the par-5 second hole. She added birdies on holes 8 and 12 on her way to a bogey-free round.

Meanwhile, playing several holes ahead of the leader, Ko lit up the course. A birdie-eagle start to her round propelled the New Zealander to a 29 on the front nine, a new nine-hole scoring record for the event often likened to the LPGA's Masters.

By the 11th hole, Ko had drained seven birdies and an eagle to threaten Tavatanakit's lead, but she finished with just one birdie over her final seven holes.

Four players tied for third at 11 under: Nelly Korda, Nanna Koerstz Madsen, Kim Sei Young and Feng Shanshan. - REUTERS

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