Del Rosario nails Thailand Am title
Pauline del Rosario broke away early with clutch birdies to cushion the impact of a faltering finish, closing out with a one-under 71 to edge Thai Paphangkorn Tavatanakit by one and capture the Thailand Ladies Amateur Open crown at Phoenix Golf Club in Pattaya, Thailand, late Friday.
Tied with Tavatanakit after 36 holes, Del Rosario surged ahead by three with birdies on Nos. 3, 10 and 13. She bucked a three-putt miscue on No. 17 and her rival’s closing birdie to hack out a one-stroke victory with a 54-hole aggregate of six-under 210.
“It’s a nice feeling to win again. I really worked hard on my putting and I’m glad I made the putts in the early going to wrest control,” said the 17-year-old Del Rosario, who muffed a number of birdie chances in the first two rounds that enabled Tavatanakit to share the lead with 69 and 70.
It was Del Rosario’s second National Open triumph this year after the De La Salle-Zobel student dominated the field in the Malaysian Ladies Open last June and it came on the heels of her runaway title-retention victory in last month’s Canlubang Amateur Open.
“She’s been hitting the ball pretty solid and she was due for another win,” said Bong Lopez, coach of Del Rosario’s home course, The Country Club. “I told her she needed a strong start and she responded.”
Truly, Del Rosario put the pressure on her gutsy rival early with a three-foot birdie putt on No. 3, went 2-up with an eight-footer on the 10th then shook off Tavatanakit, who had hoped to close within two with a tap-in birdie, with a long 15-foot birdie putt on No. 13 then made regulation putts in the next two to go 3-up with three holes to go.