Vu Claims First LPGA Tour Victory by One Stroke in Honda LPGA Thailand

Lilia Vu had been knocking on the door and finally knocked it down.

The 25-year-old Vu, from Fountain Valley and UCLA, shot a brilliant, bogey-free eight-under-par 64 to claim her first LPGA Tour victory by one stroke over rookie Natthakritta Vongtaveelap of Thailand in the Honda LPGA Thailand on the Pattaya Old Course at Siam Country Club in Chonburi, Thailand.

“It feels really good to get it done,” said Vu, who won three times on the Symetra Tour. “I feel like I put a lot of pressure on myself at the end of last year, and during the off-season I kind of just changed my mindset. Like, I always knew I was going to win, I just had to let it happen.

“The more you hold onto something I feel like it gets further away. I came close a lot toward the end of the last season, so I was just going to have fun and play my game and it would eventually work itself out. Yesterday, my dad told me that just one good round and I could win. That’s all I kept thinking about. Basically, today I just blacked out and tried to birdie every single hole I could.

“I knew I would win, it was just a matter of when.”

Vu, who finished third or better three times last season, started the final day six shots behind but posted a score of 66-70-66-64—266, 22-under par, while Vongtaveelap, 20, the 54-hole leader, wound up at 67-65-64-71—267, and fourth-ranked Attayha Thitikul of Thailand was third at 67-69-64-68—268.

Playing one group ahead of Vongtaveelap, Vu birdied two of the first three holes before taking the lead when she made five straight birdies through the 12th hole and added one more at No. 15 before finishing her 64 with three straight pars.

Vongtaveelap, playing in her first LPGA Tour event, birdied the first hole but then struggled with a double-bogey 5 at No. 4 and four bogeys through the 12th hole, before rallying with three birdies on the back nine only to fall one stroke short when she managed only a par-5 on the closing hole.

Maja Stark of Sweden carded a score of 66-67-69-69—271 to tie for fourth with Celine Boutier of France, who finished at 68-66-67-70—271, while second-ranked Nelly Korda wound up at 68-66-69-69—272 to tie for sixth with top-ranked Lydia Ko of New Zealand, who totaled 68-68-67-69—272, fifth-ranked Jin Young Ko of South Korea, who finished at 68-70-79-64—272, and Leona Maguire of Ireland, who came in at 67-68-72-65—272.

Georgia Hall of England posted a score of 67-68-70-68—273 to tie for 10th with Ashley   Buhai of South Africa, who shot 72-65-66-79—273, ninth-ranked Hyo Joo Kim of South Africa, who totaled 67-70-66-70—273, Jodi Ewart Shadoff of England, who wound up at 69-66-71-67—273, and Anna Nordqvist of Sweden, who finished at 65-70-67-71—273.    

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