Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Patty rules at Sioux Falls

Sep 02. 2019
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By The Nation

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It took 73 holes, but a birdie in the first extra frame of a sudden-death playoff by Patty Tavatanakit from Bangkok sealed victory at the fifth annual Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge on Sunday afternoon for her third win of the season.

The UCLA alumna found the bottom of the cup for birdie on No. 18 at Willow Run Golf Course to cap a final round 8-under par 62 and take the clubhouse lead of 13-under overall. Patty then watched as Yujeong Son from Busan drained her own birdie out of the final pairing, three groups later. From there, they went back to No. 18 tee and the rest is history.

“Definitely very surreal, I didn’t expect to get this win,” said Patty, who entered the day six shots back of the lead. “I just hoped to play well and climb the leaderboard for a bigger cheque to move up the money list. I wanted to be the first player out here to win three times this year, so I accomplished my goal and proved that hard work really pays off.”

As for Patty’s third time in the winner’s circle, new rules mean that the Battlefield Promotion to the LPGA Tour is no longer in play. The change was part of the overall restructuring with the installment of Q-Series in 2018. Although a three-time champion on the “Road to the LPGA” did previously get a position on the LPGA’s priority list for the remainder of the LPGA season, she did not receive official LPGA Tour membership.

Regardless, Patty plans to compete in each of the final four events on the Symetra Tour calendar and fully prepare for what looks like her rookie season on the LPGA in 2020. For now, three wins in eight events even had the young player shocked about the body of work since her debut in June at the Island Resort Championship.

“It’s hard to get a picture of what I’ve been able to accomplish,” she said. “I set my goals and have lived in the moment really well for the past three months since turning pro. I just focus on what I need to do to be a better player. All I want is to improve every time I step on the course. It’s pretty unreal how far I have come and what the future holds too.”

Even though the finish in the Mount Rushmore State was not exactly what Yujeong Son was hoping for, the runner-up result serves as a career-best in her rookie season. It also launched the 18-year-old up 12 spots in the Volvik Race for the Card to No. 15.

Competing out of the final grouping, Son carded a bogey-free, 4-under par 66 to end at 13-under overall and force a sudden-death playoff with the Thai. Over her last seven starts, Son owns five top-10s.

“I didn’t really expect to make my putt on No. 18 the first try, so I felt lucky,” said Son. “Unfortunately, the luck didn’t come in the playoff. Patty played great and I did my best out there, which is the best I can do. It gives me great confidence going into the last four tournaments, hard to believe we only have that many left. I’m excited to see what happens and keep working on the course.”

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