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21-year-old rookie Patty Tavatanakit delays Lydia Ko’s historic round for ANA Inspiration victory

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RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif .– Even history couldn’t stop Patty Tavatanakit on Sunday at ANA Inspiration.

Lydia Ko shot one of the biggest final rounds in LPGA Major Championship history on the Dinah Shore tournament course at Mission Hills Country Club, but all that did was put Ko within earshot of the dominant Tavatanakit.

Tavatanakit, a 21-year-old rising star from Thailand and UCLA, picked up a end-to-end victory to make the Major Championship his first LPGA victory. Starting the day with a five-stroke lead, Tavatanakit did whatever she needed on a hot, windless day at Rancho Mirage to hold on to the win.

“I was playing my own game and I didn’t look at the leader board at all today,” Tavatanakit said.

Patty Tavatanakit holds the trophy after winning the LPGA’s first major tournament, ANA Inspiration, at Mission Hills Country Club.

But Ko’s heroism, burning the Shore Course for a 62 single-round tournament tie record, included a tournament record 29 out of the top nine and kept the tournament title in doubt until late in the day. In the end, however, Ko was only able to get closer to Tavatanakit by two hits.

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Tavatanakit’s 4 under 68 on Sunday put him at 270 under 18, one stroke short of the event’s record 19 under Dottie Pepper set in 1999.

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“I just kept hitting good shots and my putting, rolled it well but didn’t read it well today,” said Tavatanakit. “But overall I feel like I really stuck to my game plan and weathered the odds. It was tough mentally, and there was a lot going on and I felt pretty well managed.

Ko finished 16 under, threatening on the back nine to shoot the second 59 in LPGA history to a string of six in his last seven holes.

Cruise control for the last 18 holes

While Ko’s turn made the tournament interesting on Sunday afternoon, the truth is that Tavatanakit controlled the tournament all day. This was evident from the second hole when Tavatanakit’s second shot on the par 5 sank into the rough back, but she grazed the ball for an eagle-3 who seemed to end any suspense of the day by giving her a lead. seven moves at the moment. a birdie on the eighth par 3 put Tavatanakit 17 under for the tournament.

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What Tavatanakit didn’t know was that the KB was sizzling at a 7 under 29 out of the top nine. This included a birdie-eagle and four more birdies in the next seven holes. After starting the day with eight backstrokes, Ko suddenly stepped back three hits.

“I don’t think it was like there was a specific point where I felt like, okay, it’s gonna be a good time,” said Ko, 23, but a 15-time major winner. of the LPGA when he hadn’t won since 2018. “Especially around a course like this you just have to focus until the last putt falls in the last hole.”

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Birdies on the 10th and 11th holes put Ko in the middle of the 15 under and just two shots behind Tavatanakit, but Ko’s round slowed down thereafter. Tavatanakit, on the other hand, went down to 18 under with a birdie putt of one foot on the 12th hole. After that, Ko and Tavatanakit combined for a single birdie the rest of the set, a birdie from Ko on par 4 15th.

Neither player won the island green in two on par 5 18th despite tees from 485 yards, both on hold and in two putts for routine pars.

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Eclipsed by the brilliant golf at the top, some of the LPGA’s biggest names were floating well behind their heads in a close battle for third place. Ultimately, Nelly Korda, Sei Young Kim, Shanshan Feng and Nanna Koerstz Madsen are all tied for third place at 11 under, one shot ahead of Jin Young Ko, Inbee Park and Ally Ewing.

A smiling Ko said she was happy with the progress of her game under new coach Sean Foley, coming so close to breaking his winless streak and coming so far behind Tavatanakit to start the day.

“I think it just shows that no matter how far back you are, you can still go. As long as you have a hole in front of you, there is always a chance to birdie or eagle.

What a finish on Sunday

Lowest rounds in an LPGA major of all time

61: Hyo Joo Kim (Evian Championship 2014)

62: Minea Blomqvist (2004 AIG Women’s Open)

62: Lorena Ochoa (2006 ANA Inspiration)

62: Mirim Lee (2016 AIG Women’s Open)

62: Lydia Ko (ANA 2021 inspiration)

This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: ANA Inspiration: Patty Tavatanakit beats Lydia Ko for her first LPGA win

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