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Atthaya leads from start to finish for Phoenix Ladies Classic title

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Red-hot Atthaya Thitikul lived up to expectations with a five-stroke victory in the Bt1-million Phoenix Ladies Classic at the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club in Pattaya on Sunday.

The talented teenager had been in dominant form since the opening day and she clung on to the lead until the end, finishing with a 15-under-par 201 to beat Chakansim Khamborn and Chanettee Wannasaen comfortably by five strokes.

It was the third triumph for Atthaya on this landscape following two Ladies European Tour victories in 2017 and 2019. But this was the first time she would take home the prize money, as when she won the LET Thailand Championship she was still an amateur and not eligible for the prize money.

“I think the course really suits my game. Every player always has a special course in their heart,” added Atthaya, who would go home Bt110,000 richer from the winner’s cheque. “But the different thing is that I finally got the prize money,” Atthaya joked.

However, the Ratchaburi-based golfer had poor starts all week before summoning brilliant performances on the back nine.

On Sunday, she committed three bogeys in the first five holes but raised her level by shooting five birdies after the turn.

“I didn’t know what happened, but one thing I learned this week is that I could control my mental condition well. My short game really helped me out there,” said Atthaya, who has won eight titles, six after turning professional last year. She has won almost every local women’s event she has entered after the Covid-19 break late last year.

Asked if she is the player to beat, Atthaya said: “I’ve never focused on how others view me and say of me. I just focus on myself and things that I need to work on. Win or loss comes later.”

The teen prodigy plans to play a mixed tournament in Chiang Mai in April, which could be her last home event before joining the European Tour in May.

“I will have to learn and adjust to the new condition and environment. I will take it one step at a time,” said Atthaya.


Atthaya leads from start to finish for Phoenix Ladies Classic title

Chakansim, 21 from Khon Kaen province, carded a round-lowest 66 to finish second alongside 16-year-old Chanettee on 10-under-par 206. Chakansim has yet to win a title after finishing second twice on the Ladies Philippines Golf Tour and a Thai tour back in 2018.

“I was having fun out there which is why I produced a good score. My plan is to finish within the top five in all events and I would love to play overseas events when the Covid-19 situation gets better,” said Chakansim, who earned Bt65,000 as a runner-up.


Atthaya leads from start to finish for Phoenix Ladies Classic title

With a final-round 68, Chanettee enjoyed her best finish at joint second in only her third tournament since turning professional late last year.

“I’ve been playing well these days because I feel confident with my game. Finishing second in a tournament full of good players is beyond target for a player my age. I hope to continue like this all year round,” Chanettee said.

Published : March 28, 2021