Pajaree Anannarukarn of Thailand defeated Ayaka Furue of Japan 3 and 1 in the final to capture the Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play title on Sunday in Las Vegas.
Anannarukarn, who turns 24 on Tuesday, picked up her second LPGA victory and became the fifth Thai player with multiple titles on tour, joining Ariya Jutanugarn (12), Atthaya Thitikul (2), Moriya Jutanugarn (2) and Jasmine Suwannapura (2).
“I just, you know, tried every possible way just to improve my game and just keep believing, and I’m lucky that I have everyone around me that helped me and supported me along the way just since Day 1,” Anannarukarn said. “So I’m really grateful for that.”
Anannarukarn played 34 holes at Shadow Creek Country Club on Sunday and 116 holes overall to earn the victory. She was the only player who needed to win a playoff tiebreaker to advance out of the round-robin stage. She tied Karis Davidson of Australia at 2-1-0 in her group and beat Davidson on their first playoff hole Friday.
Earlier Sunday, Anannarukarn beat Linn Grant of Sweden 3 and 1 in the semifinals. Furue beat Ireland’s Leona Maguire 2 and 1 in the other semifinal.
In the final, Furue took a 1-up lead when Anannarukarn bogeyed the second hole, but Anannarukarn parred the par-four third hole while Furue bogeyed to level the match.
The golfers traded the fifth and sixth holes before Anannarukarn went back ahead with a birdie at the par-five seventh. She defended the lead, halving the next four holes with Furue, before making another birdie at the par-4 12th and moving 2 up.
That proved crucial, as Furue struck back and won the 13th hole with a birdie 2. But Anannarukarn birdied No. 14 to go ahead two up again, and leading two up with two holes to play, her birdie at the par-three 17th sealed the deal.
“The wind definitely picked up a lot and I think I used all of my birdies and focus (in the semifinal), so I really try hard to focus on myself,” Anannarukarn said. “I missed couple putts and I even shanked off the bunker. I mean, it’s golf and I’m really tried, so I’m glad I was able to play ... decent enough.”
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