South Korea’s Inbee Park took advantage of 17-year-old Thai star’s Ariya Jutanugarn’s closing triple bogey to win the LPGA Thailand by a stroke in Chonburi, Thailand.
Jutanugarn blew a two-stroke lead on the par-5 18th, driving into an unplayable lie in a bunker, hitting over the green and three-putting for an 8. The 17-year-old Thai golfer, who had a hole-in-one earlier in the round, was moved to tears as the putt lipped out, while a surprised Park started celebrating in the clubhouse with her caddie.
“I just didn’t’ expect this kind of finish,” said Park, adding that she sympathized with Jutanugarn. “If I was in Ariya’s situation, I would be very, very nervous and I don’t think I would have handled the pressure until the last hole. I think she handled the pressure well today and this week.”
Park shot a 5-under 67 to finish at 12 under, and earned $225,000 for her fourth LPGA Tour title. Jutanugarn had a hole-in-one on the par-3 12th and closed with a 72.
Top-ranked Yani Tseng had a 63 to tie for third at 10 under with So Yeon Ryu (68), Stacy Lewis (70) and Beatriz Recari (70).
Kevin Foley won the Web.com Tour’s season-opening Panama Claro Championship for his first tour title, holing a 15-foot birdie putt on the final hole for a one-stroke victory over Mathew Goggin in Panama City.
The 25-year-old former Penn State player closed with a 3-under 67 in 93-degree heat to finish at 8-under 272 at Panama Golf Club. He earned $108,000.
“If you had told me a year ago that I’d be standing here I probably wouldn’t have believed you,” Foley said. “I’d take it, but I wouldn’t believe it. A lot has happened in a year.”
Goggin had a bogey, double bogey and triple bogey in his final-round 70. The 2010 champion had a chance to force a playoff with a birdie at the 465-yard 18th, but settled for par after his second shot went into a greenside bunker.
“I played really poorly for 13 holes,” said Goggin, from Australia. “You’re just waiting for one or two holes or one or two shots to get you going and then instead of a good one you have the absolute worst one.”
Foley began the round tied for second, two strokes behind Goggin.
“I knew it was going to be a shootout today because there were a bunch of guys lined up to start the day,” Foley said. “It wasn’t the windiest day but with tough pin positions and the course getting firmer, I knew I just had to play smart and steady all day.”
Scott Brown shot a 66 to finish third at 6 under, and Scott Dunlap (68), Len Mattiace (69) and Roland Thatcher (71) followed at 4 under. Jordan Spieth (66) and Bobby Gates (72) were 3 under. Spieth, 19, turned professional in December after 1½ years at the University of Texas.
The tournament opened the tour’s 24th season. The Colombia Championship is next week, followed by the Chile Classic.