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Phuket girl Saranporn claims sixth crown of year

GOLF: An eagle three on the 17th hole proved the difference for Phuket native Saranporn “Ein” Langkulgasettrin last Friday (Sept 15) as the Thai teen sensation closed with a one-under-par 71 to win the PTT Thailand LPGA Masters by one stroke for her sixth title of the year.

Bangkok Post

Saturday 23 September 2017, 10:46AM

Saranporn Langkulgasettrin is congratulated by fellow players after winning the Thailand LPGA Masters title. Photo: via Bangkok Post
Saranporn Langkulgasettrin is congratulated by fellow players after winning the Thailand LPGA Masters title. Photo: via Bangkok Post

The 17-year-old finished on five-under 211 at the four-million-baht tournament, tri-sanctioned by the China, Australian and Thai LPGAs, at Bangkok’s Panya Indra Golf Club.

The victory was worth B600,000 and follows two domestic titles and international wins in Wuhan, Zhuhai and Taiwan.

With a one-stroke lead going into the final hole, the Chalong-born teen, winner of last week’s Kenda Tires TLPGA Open in Taiwan, said she just wanted to close the deal.

“At the last hole, I am thinking ‘I am not going to miss any shot’ because I am really tired and don’t want to go to a play-off,” the teenager said.

In a Thai-dominated leaderboard, Budsabakorn Sukapan (68), Parinda Phokan (71) and Ploychompoo Wirairungruen (72) were joint runners-up.

Compatriots Renuka Suksukont (71) and Patcharajutar Kongkraphan (72) were equal fifth with Taiwan’s Chen Yu-ju (73) at two shots back.

After starting the day two shots off the lead, Saranporn, the first-round leader, made a birdie on the first hole to get to five under before registering four bogeys and another birdie to make the turn at 38.

As the lead changed hands several times between Ploychompoo and Budsabakorn, Saranporn started her move up the leaderboard with a birdie at the 497-yard par-five 12th hole to get to three under.

Playing conservative golf in the hot and windy conditions, Saranporn would then par the next four holes before the penultimate hole, a 500-yard par-five.

“I talked to my dad [caddie] before the tee off. He said if I got eagle on this one there’s going to be a big change today,” she said.

“I hit to the fairway and for the second shot I used a seven-iron because it was downwind. The ball got on the green about 13 feet from the hole and from left to right line. My dad said if I made this I would really change that. He said ‘let’s do it, eagle!’ and then I made it.”

Saranporn said she struggled on the front nine as she didn’t hit according to her plan.

The NAKA Island

“I missed a lot of hits. I put a lot pressure on myself at the first nine. At the back nine, I saw the scoreboard, I am far away from the leader. I feel more relaxed and focused on the game.”

Overnight leader Chatprapa Siriprakob finished equal eighth after stumbling to a 76, while Zhang Yunjie (70) was the top Chinese mainland player in equal 13th, five shots off the winning score.

Born on December 9, 1999, Saranporn hails from Chalong and most of her education was undertaken at Satree School Phuket. However, in 2014, she made the move north to Bangkok to further her career as a pro golfer.

In an interview with The Phuket News back in June, she revealed that it was at the tender age of three when she first picked up a golf club; following in the footsteps of her golf-loving father, she explained, “When I was three years old my dad loved to play golf, every time he went to play he took me to the course and this is when I first picked up a golf club. (See story here.)

“That wasn’t such a bad move in my opinion as by the time I was nine I had won a charity golf tournament,” she said.

“After winning that event I told my dad how good it was to hold that trophy, I wanted to know how I could get more.”

And it was shortly after this initial trophy win that she potential was first recognised.

“I’m not exactly sure but I think it was one of my dad’s friends who first thought I could make it as a pro golfer. The friend told my dad that one day I’d be professional and would be seen on the LPGA tour,” she said.

To wrap up the interview, The Phuket News asked if she saw herself becoming as successful as Ariya Jutanugarn?

It was a modest reply, “Yes I wish I could be there one day. I’m not going to wish for it, but I will work for it!”

Read original story here.

Additional reporting by Matt  Pond



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