RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Patty Tavatanakit had no thought Lydia Ko was tearing up the course three teams forward on Sunday within the ultimate spherical of the ANA Inspiration.
“Did not have a look at the leaderboard in any respect in the present day,” Tavatanakit mentioned. “Simply because — I noticed her title up there, however I did not have a look at it — I needed to play my very own sport, which I did, and did a very good job of that in the present day.”
With a chip-in eagle on the par-5 second, two birdies and quite a lot of par saves, the long-hitting Thai participant survived Ko’s cost with out realizing how shut it was till she completed and was getting ready for the normal victory leap into Poppie’s Pond.
“Like I mentioned, I did not actually have a look at the leaderboard,” Tavatanakit mentioned “I did not actually care who did something. I simply needed to deal with myself.”
5 strokes forward coming into the day and 6 in entrance after the eagle, Tavatanakit shot a 4-under 68 in 100-degree warmth to beat Ko by two strokes within the first main championship of the 12 months.
“It nonetheless hasn’t actually sunk in but the truth that I simply turned 21 six months in the past and now I am a significant champion in my rookie 12 months,” Tavatanakit mentioned. “Simply loopy.”
Ko matched Lorena Ochoa’s 2006 event file with a 62, taking pictures 7-under 29 on the entrance 9 for the perfect nine-hole rating in occasion’s 50-year historical past. The New Zealander started the day tied for seventh at 6 underneath, eight strokes behind Tavatanakit within the event performed with out spectators for the second time in seven months.
“My sport was actually strong, and I felt like I gave myself a very good run at it, however possibly Patty was only a bit too far-off,” Ko mentioned. “I feel it simply exhibits it would not matter how far again you’re, you’ll be able to at all times go for it.”
Winless since April 2018, the 23-year-old Ko performed the primary 11 holes in 9 underneath and added a birdie on the par-4 fifteenth. On the par-5 18th, she drove into tough close to the water that traces the left aspect, laid up and hit a wedge 30 ft lengthy and proper. Her birdie attempt missed to the left, stopping inches away.
“I do not suppose it was like there was an actual second the place I felt like, ‘OK, that is going to be a very good one,”’ Ko mentioned. “Particularly round a course like this, you simply need to focus till that final putt drops within the final gap.”
The low novice within the 2019 occasion as a UCLA sophomore, Tavatanakit parred the final six holes within the bogey-free spherical.
Her 8-footer on the par-4 fifteenth circled the cup and dropped in, she lagged a 45-footer to 2 ft on the par-4 sixteenth, and chipped to inches on the par-3 seventeenth after lacking the inexperienced left.
Tavatanakit completed the wire-to-wire victory with a brief par putt on 18. A day after matching the event 54-hole file of 14 underneath set by Pernilla Lindberg in her 2018 victory, Tavatanakit completed a stroke off Dottie Pepper’s 72-hole mark of 19 underneath set in 1999.
“It is a dream come true,” Tavatanakit mentioned. “Each time I play right here, I bear in mind precisely I used to be on this inexperienced receiving my low novice award, and I noticed they had been leaping and I took a Snapchat and the caption was, ‘Sooner or later.’ It has been loopy.”
Ranked 103rd on the planet, Tavatanakit grew to become the sixth straight worldwide winner within the occasion, the primary rookie champion since Juli Inkster in 1984 and the fourth straight first-time main winner. She received seven instances in two seasons at UCLA and had three Symetra Tour victories in 2019.
“Coming into this 12 months, I did not actually set any objectives simply because I knew how robust it was final 12 months,” Tavatanakit mentioned. “I simply needed to come back out, to be taught to be a greater participant.”
Ko has 15 LPGA Tour victories, profitable at Mission Hills in 2016 for her second main victory.
“I’ve actually simply tried to have enjoyable on the market, and I feel that’s such an enormous key for me,” Ko mentioned. “If you’re having fun with it, I feel every thing sort of follows.”
Nelly Korda (66), Sei Younger Kim (66), Nanna Koerstz Madsen (66) and Shanshan Feng (69) tied for third at 11 underneath.