19-yo Thitikul defeats Kang in NW Arkansas playoff

Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul defeated American Danielle Kang in a playoff to secure the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship on the LPGA Tour on Sunday after the pair finished the regulation play at 17-under-par.

The victory made the 19-year-old the first LPGA Tour player in five years to win twice in her rookie season. Sung Hyun Park posted multiple wins in 2017.

Atthaya Thitikul Atthaya Thitikul (Credit: LPGA Tour)

Thitikul had jumped into contention on Saturday with a second-round 61, the lowest 18-hole LPGA score and closed out with a final round of 68 after Kang stormed home with a 64.

In the playoff Thitikul needed a birdie on the second playoff hole to claim the title.

WITB: Atthaya Thitikul

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  • Callaway Rogue ST LS Fairway Wood (15º)
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  • Odyssey Toulon Atlanta Putter
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“On the second hole (of the) playoff, I had a chance to make a birdie, because it was not that far,” said Thitikul. “Then, in my mind, I just told myself, ‘Do your best, even it’s not going in. Just do the best you can.’”

The putt went in and with the victory Thitikul is expected to jump to 4th on the money list and moves to World No.3 knocking Australia Minjee Lee into 4th.

What a rookie season it has been for Thitikul with the US$345,000 winners prize pushing her earnings to US$1,881,392 for the season. She has made 19 cuts in 20 events and added nine additional top-10s, including a fourth place result at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

Stephanie Kyriacou and Karis Davidson finished the best of the Australians in a share of 39th position at 7 under-par and were the only Aussies to make the weekend.

Minjee Lee, Sarah Kemp and Su Oh all missed the cut.