Vu overcomes 6-shot deficit to win 1st LPGA title

Vu overcomes 6-shot deficit to win 1st LPGA title

PATTAYA, Thailand — American Lilia Vu rode a hot putter to claim her first LPGA title with a 1-shot victory over home favorite Natthakritta Vongtaveelap at the LPGA Thailand on Sunday.

Trailing the local rookie by six strokes at the start of the day, the 25-year-old Vu unleashed eight birdies, including five straight from the eighth hole, to end her campaign with a round of 8-under 64 for a 22-under 266 total at Siam Country Club Old Course.

“Yesterday my dad told me that just one good round and I could win. That’s all I kept thinking about,” said Vu, whose first tour victory came after three third-place finishes in 2022. “Basically today I just blacked out and tried to birdie every single hole I could.”

The UCLA alumna came up short again on the Ladies European Tour in Saudi Arabia last week when she settled for another third place.

“I knew I was going to win. It was just when … and I finally did,” Vu said.

Vu became the third American to win the event after Lexi Thompson in 2016 and Jessica Korda in 2018.

Playing her first LPGA tournament, Vongtaveelap’s lack of experience took a toll, with the 20-year-old golfer enduring a mixed final round featuring seven birdies offset by a double-bogey and four bogeys to sign off with a 1-under 71 and 267 overall.

Her hope for forcing a playoff was dashed after her birdie attempt on the final hole landed a foot away from the pin.

Thailand will have to wait for a second local winner after former No. 1 Ariya Jutanugarn prevailed in 2021. Another Thai golfer, Atthaya Thitikul, was third after a final-round 68 got her to 268.

Maja Stark of Sweden and Celine Boutier of France tied for fourth at 271, one ahead of top-ranked Lydia Ko, who finished tied for sixth.

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