Published on October 29, 2007
Norway's Suzann Pettersen blasted the best shot of her life in a nail-biting final round against English veteran Laura Davies to win the US$1.3-million Honda LPGA Thailand trophy at the Siam Country Club Pattaya Old Course yesterday.
Tied at 19-under on the par-five 18th, the world No 4 delivered a 15-foot eagle to sign off with a 21-under-par 267 total for her fifth title of the year.
"Laura and Paula just kept playing at me. To make that last putt, I think it was the best putt of my life. I was like "Drop! Drop! Drop! Please drop. It would have been really disappointing if I let it go,'' said Pettersen who led from start to finish.
"It was so warm out there today and the sweat just kept running down my face. You had to stay hydrated, drink enough and eat enough. This victory is a sweet one,'' said the Norwegian, who took home $195,000.
"Laura's such a great player. [On 18] We both hit a good drive. I probably hit my best shot of the day on my second shot. She was close but, what a match. Great playing,'' added Pettersen, who claimed back-to-back titles after having won in South Korea seven days ago.
Davies, looking for her first LPGA trophy since 2001, had been chasing the three-day leader all afternoon, starting the day seven strokes behind. She finally closed the gap as Pettersen's three-foot par putt hit the lip of the cup, and curled out. But she sent home a birdie to level on the 17th. She finished with 20-under 268 after a low fourth round of 65.
"She hit a great shot in the last hole and that was it. I was disappointed as I wanted to win,'' said the 44-year-old former world No 1, who almost chipped in a 25-foot eagle attempt in the last hole for a play-off. Fans gave her a big applause for her fighting spirit despite being 18 years senior to her rival. The holder of four Majors said there were still a couple of challenges remaining in life.
"I want to be in the Hall of Fame and win 15 more tournaments,'' said Davies after her best finish in 2007. She earned $106,759 as runner-up.
Gliding along the green in pink ribbon, shirt and skirt and using a pink ball, Paula Creamer shot a solid round of 66 to trail two strokes further with a total of 270. She did not let the crowd down by showing her fabulous play, which featured an eagle on the 10th hole. "Overall I played good. It was unfortunate, the last hole, what are you going to do."
Rachel Hetherington of Australia carded a 65 to take fourth position with 16 under in total. Two strokes adrift was Stacy Prammanasudh after a six-under in the final round, followed by world No 3 Annika Sorenstam, who hit a 67 for a total of 13 under.
Virada Nirapathpongporn lived up to expectations as the Thai ace, firing an under-par to complete four days with 284, and sharing the 22nd position
"I'm a much better player now. I play with more confidence,'' said Virada, who paid compliments to all her young compatriots for competing with world class pros in the event.
"They don't lose face in the tournament as they have done pretty well. We have young players like Patcharajutar, who hits big at only 15. We're going to see more Thais in the LPGA in the near future,'' added Virada. She has to enter the US Qualifying School next month to guarantee a spot in the 2008 season.
Due to a disastrous finish, sinking a bogey in the last hole, Onnarin Sattayabanphot hit an even par to finish with two-under-286 for joint 28th place.
The 18th hole was also the graveyard for Patcharajutar Kongkraphan, who suffered a double bogey for an even par round and a total one-over 289.
Young Ariya Jutanugarn finished with a nine-over 297 after adding two-over in the final round and a joint 51st position.
"I'm half happy with my form despite making errors at the same holes like the eighth. But it should be okay for my age and I hope to improve as I grow older,'' said the 11-year-old, the youngest player in LPGA history. She will next return to the junior circuit in America in November.