Natthakritta Vongtaveelap Soars Ahead at Honda LPGA Thailand Tournament
Natthakritta Vongtaveelap of Thailand is the leader heading into the final round of the Honda LPGA Thailand tournament in Pattaya. Vongtaveelap, who got into the field after winning a national qualifier earlier this year, shot 8-under 64 on Saturday to increase her lead to four shots over reigning LPGA rookie of the year Atthaya Thitikul with 18 holes to play at the Siam Country Club.
Thitikul's score for the day was a 64, featuring 9 birdies and 1 bogey, and she is currently in second place with a total of 16-under. Celine Boutier of France was in third place after a round of 67 with a score of 201. Americans Lilia Vu, Anna Nordqvist and Maja Stark, both from Sweden, were tied for fourth place on 14-under 202.
In the summer of 2021, Stark left Oklahoma State prematurely to pursue a professional career. Since then, she has achieved seven victories globally, including the ISPS Handa World Invitational, which earned her a spot on the LPGA. At this time, she is leading the Solheim Cup points list on the Ladies European
In her fourth season on tour, Nanna Koerstz Madsen finally secured her first victory in Thailand, sinking a 10-foot putt for eagle on the second playoff hole, beating out Xiyu Lin. She won the title, becoming the first Dane to do so on the LPGA Tour. Despite already having a place in the annals of history, Madsen decided to make her mark by breaking the 54-hole (21-under par) and 72-hole scoring records (26-under par) at the tournament.
Nearly a dozen Thai players, including Thitikul, are competing in their home country with the hope of securing a victory. This includes world No. 1 Ariya Jutanugarn, who won the event in 2021. Jaravee Boonchant, Natthakrita Vongtaveelap, Chanettee Wannasaen, and Arpichaya Yubol, Thai newcomers, have been granted a beneficial sponsorship invitation to the event and will be making their first appearances on the LPGA Tour with the bonus of playing on their own turf.
Ko, currently the number one in the world, began her round well by getting a birdie on three of the first four holes. She kept up her solid play until the 14th hole, where she made a bogey.
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1. “Young Thai stars on birdie binge in Pattaya” Bangkok Post, 25 Feb. 2023, https://www.bangkokpost.com/sports/2514866/young-thai-stars-on-birdie-binge-in-pattaya
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3. “Rookie Natthakritta Vongtaveelap expands lead in Thailand | | news-journal.com” Longview News-Journal, 25 Feb. 2023, https://www.news-journal.com/rookie-natthakritta-vongtaveelap-expands-lead-in-thailand/article_bc014794-9675-587f-9b0e-50028f4b0ff2.html
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5. “Honda LPGA Thailand: Natthakritta Vongtaveelap leading after 2nd round” Golfweek, 24 Feb. 2023, https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2023/02/24/honda-lpga-thailand-second-round-leaderboard-natthakritta-vongtaveelap
6. “LPGA: 5 things to look for in Thailand, where Lydia Ko, Nelly Korda and Jin Young Ko are primed for battle along with …” Golfweek, 22 Feb. 2023, https://golfweek.usatoday.com/lists/lpga-5-things-to-look-for-thailand-lydia-ko-nelly-korda-jin-young-ko-saki-baba
7. “Five Things to Know About the Honda LPGA Thailand” LPGA, 21 Feb. 2023, https://www.lpga.com/news/2023/five-things-to-know-about-the-honda-lpga-thailand
8. “Lydia Ko fires in seven birdies in second round at LPGA Thailand” Stuff, 24 Feb. 2023, https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/women-in-sport/300816161/lydia-ko-fires-in-seven-birdies-in-second-round-at-lpga-thailand