Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum conjured a piece of magic on the closing hole to win the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters.
The 24-year-old Phatlum, who’s Rolex Ranked No. 47, drilled her approach shot with a 54 degree wedge over the lake guarding the green to within two feet of the cup and holed the birdie putt with little fluster, besting her nearest challenger, Rolex Ranked No. 3 Stacy Lewis, by one shot and becoming the first Thai player to win the season-ending Ladies European Tour event in Dubai.
Phatlum’s been steadily moving toward this win during the final events of the 2013 season. With her game momentum building throughout the November LPGA events, she finished the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in a tie for 5th and then took a solo 3rd at the CME Group Titleholders.
This time Phatlum mounted a stunning charge coming down the stretch to edge past Lewis, who appeared to be on cruise control most of the day. The equation changed on the 17th hole when Phatlum drew level with a birdie.
Both players stood on the 18th tee at 14-under, but Phatlum, who carded a closing 66, clinched the title with a birdie while Lewis had to settle for par after her approach from the rough left her with a long birdie putt of around 40 feet.
“I am very excited. I just played my own game and stayed calm under pressure,” Phatlum said after the receiving the winner’s trophy. “I have learned how to stay focused through meditation which I practice with my brother, who caddies for me.”
For Lewis, the ending must have felt like a replay of the Reignwood LPGA Classic in Beijing last October.
I’m disappointed. The back nine that Pornanong played was pretty impressive. She hit golf shots when she needed to and made the putts and I didn’t.
China’s Jing Yan rounded off a great day for Asian women’s golf when she closed with a 71 for a total of two-under 286 to take the leading amateur medal.
Carlota Ciganda of Spain ended seven shots behind Lewis in solo third place, followed by Italian Diana Luna in fourth.
The defending champion Shanshan Feng, Laura Davies and Louise Larsson tied for fifth place. Davies recorded her second best finish of the year after finishing fifth in Sweden, while Feng achieved her target of finishing in the top five.