BANGKOK • Amy Yang will tee off at the newly renovated New Tanjong Course as the world No. 5, after she romped to a five-stroke victory at the Honda LPGA Thailand yesterday.
The South Korean sank a short birdie putt on the 72nd hole to complete a wire-to-wire win and will head to the March 2-5 HSBC Women's Champions at at the Sentosa Golf Club in red-hot form.
She closed with a four-under 68 at the Siam Country Club in Chonburi to finish with a tournament record 22-under total of 266.
The previous mark of 267 was held by Norway's Suzann Pettersen (2007) and Japan's Ai Miyazato (2010) when the tournament was named Honda PTT LPGA Thailand.
Compatriots Ryu So Yeon and Kim Sei Young also carded matching 68s to finish second and third (273) respectively.
"I love this place, I love the people here and I always seem to play well," Yang, the 2015 champion, said after winning the tournament for the second time.
IN COMPLETE CONTROL
I'm beyond happy. It wasn't easy with all the rain delays, 4am wake-up calls two days in a row, but I stayed patient out there and did my best and am delighted to have won the tournament.
AMY YANG, on winning the Honda LPGA Thailand despite testing conditions.
"It's a great start to the year and I am really looking forward to the rest of the season."
Her next stop is Singapore, where she will bid to follow Miyazato's footsteps. The Japanese is the first and only player to win the HSBC Women's Champions title after victory in Thailand, going back-to- back in 2010.
Not even Mother Nature could stop Yang last week. Frustrating weather delays during the first three rounds left the players either battling boredom or needing to play almost 36 holes in a day, but she stayed focused throughout to claim a third LPGA title.
"I'm beyond happy," said Yang, who played 31 holes on Saturday and had to finish up her last five holes from the third round yesterday. "It wasn't easy with all the rain delays, 4am wake-up calls two days in a row, but I stayed patient out there and did my best and am delighted to have won the tournament."
Starting her final round with a five-shot cushion, she always appeared in control of her destiny but when Ryu threatened to cut her lead to just two strokes on the back nine, the 27-year-old produced a pair of title-winning shots.
Yang made a complete mess of her chip from beside the green on the par-four 14th but breathed a huge sigh of relief when she drained a difficult 20-foot downhill putt to match Ryu's par and keep her advantage at a manageable three shots.
"The chip wasn't easy from the bottom (of the slope) and I had a poor bounce but I knew I had to make the putt and fortunately I did," added Yang, who recorded only two bogeys all week and is set to move up six rungs from No. 11 in the world rankings.
Still pumped up by the adrenaline of her clutch par-save, she sent a booming drive into the centre of the green on the short par-four 15th and was able to extend her lead by another shot with a tap-in birdie, as Ryu's challenge faded with a par.