Monday, July 16, 2018
SYLVANIA, OHIO -- Thidapa Suwannapura hardly could believe it after she outlasted Brittany Lincicome in a sudden-death playoff to win the Marathon Classic.
The victory was a long time coming for Suwannapura, a native of Thailand who had not won in 120 career starts on the tour.
Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., who entered the final round with a one-stroke lead, shot a two-under 69 to finish in third place at 13 under. Austin Ernst was two strokes off the lead at 12 under after an impressive 66 on the final day.
Suwannapura entered the weekend with only two top-10 finishes, including a career-best seventh-place finish in the 2014 Kingsmill Championship in Williamsburg, Va.
"After I knocked that last putt in, it just felt like a dream come true," Suwannapura said to reporters after her win.
"I've been waiting for this for a while and I didn't think it was going to happen today, so I'll just keep trying my best and hopefully it comes out. And today is the day."
The 25-year-old Suwannapura sealed the win with a birdie on the first playoff hole. She lofted an approach shot that came to rest about five feet from the pin and calmly drained a putt for a birdie on the par-five 18th hole.
Lincicome, who scored par on the hole, quickly approached Suwannapura for a congratulatory hug.
Suwannapura shot a six-under 65 on the final day to finish 14-under 270 for the tournament. Lincicome also was 14 under after shooting a four-under 67.
Lincicome admitted that she battled nerves during the playoff showdown.
"Juli Inkster told me if I wasn't nervous, I'm not human," Lincicome said. "So you just don't care. I still have the drive.
I still want to compete. I still want to be the best that I can be.
And I guess if I didn't have the nerves, I should probably give up the game."
Four golfers finished tied for fifth place at 11 under. The group included Americans Jacqui Concolino and Emma Talley, as well as Daniela Darquea of Ecuador and Mirim Lee of South Korea.
Suwannapura earned US$240,000 for her first win. She has earned US$312,546 this season and US$927,954 over the course of her career.
She became the third player from Thailand to win on the LPGA Tour. The others are sisters Ariya Jutanugarn and Moriya Jutanugarn.
"It means a lot," Suwannapura said. "Especially my parents in Thailansd. They're cheering for me. They're staying up all night just to watch the score. ... I mean, yeah, everybody in Thailand, I think, are waiting for this to happen."
KIM CRUISES IN JOHN DEERE SILVIS, ILL.
American Michael Kim cruised to his first PGA Tour victory and a trip to the British Open with a runaway win in the John Deere Classic on Sunday.
Kim birdied his first three holes and was never challenged as he shot five-under 66 to win by eight strokes at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill., a day after his 25th birthday.
With all four rounds in the 60s, the South Korean-born golfer finished on 27-under 257 for the tournament.
Italian Francesco Molinari (64) and Americans Joel Dahmen (65), Sam Ryder (66) and Bronson Burgoon (69) tied for second at 265.
The British Open, which starts on Thursday at Carnoustie in Scotland, will be Kim's second career major. He tied for 17th and was the low amateur at the 2013 U.S. Open.