Thai Supakchaya Pattaranakrueang claimed her first Ladies Philippine Golf Tour (LPGT) crown the hard way, needing three extra holes to foil Cyna Rodriguez and snare the ICTSI Luisita Ladies Championship crown at the Luisita Golf and Country Club in Tarlac on Friday.
Pattaranakrueang missed clinching it on the first playoff hole on No. 18 but hit a solid drive and a superb approach shot on the par-4 No. 10 and banged in the putt from pin-length distance to end a grueling search for a victory the last five weeks here and abroad.
“I’m very happy. I’ve been wanting to win here,” said Pattaranakrueang, who tied for 13th at the Tagaytay Highlands Ladies Challenge last month and saw action in India, Thailand and China in pursuit of a championship.
“I’d like to rest for now and enjoy the moment,” said the 29-year-old Thai, who also birdied No. 16 in regulation play to salvage a 72 and force a tie at 219.
Rodriguez blew a two-shot lead with a poor frontside stint but fought back from three down to regain the lead with back-to-back birdies from No. 14 but settled for pars the rest of the way for a 74.
Both parred the first two playoff holes on the par-4 No. 18 with Rodriguez needing a pair of par saves and Pattaranakrueang muffing her birdie putt from 12 feet and saving a par on the next after overshooting the green.
The Filipina ace hit the fairway bunker on the third extra hole and came up short on her approach and Pattaranakrueang never gave her the chance to extend the duel by sinking that title-clinching putt worth P350,000.
The setback extended Rodriguez’s two-year title spell in the circuit sponsored by ICTSI and settled for P185,000 runner-up prize.
Princess Superal actually charged back from six down to force a tie at three-over overall with a three birdie-string from No. 12. But the back-to-back winner at Tagaytay and Riviera overshot the par-3 No. 17 and ended up with a bogey before dropping another stroke on the final hole to finish with a 71. She wound up tied for third with Mikha Fortuna at 222 but pocketed the P125,000 third prize.
Fortuna also closed out with a 71 as the top The Country Club bet took the low amateur honors while Thanuttra boonraksasat, also of Thailand, placed fifth at 223 after a 72 and received P115,000.
Chihiro Ikeda also rallied with a 70 to tie Marvi Monsalve, who faltered with a 76, at sixth at 224 while Thai Numa Gulyanamitta carded a 74 for a 228 and former leg winner Saruttaya Ngam-usawan made a 73 to share ninth place with amateur Sofia Chabon, who skied to a 79, at 230.
Two behind Rodriguez after 36 holes, Pattaranakrueang seized control with birdies on Nos. 4 and 8 as Rodriguez dropped two strokes on the seventh and bogeyed the next, putting the Thai ahead instead by three at the turn.
But Rodriguez refused to give up and gunned down back-to-back birdies from No. 14, the last netting her back the lead as Pattaranakrueang double-bogeyed the par-4 14th, setting up the thrilling finish after back-to-back romps by Superal in the circuit organized by Pilipinas Golf Tournaments, Inc. and backed by Custom Clubmakers, BDO, Meralco, Sharp, KZGm PLDT, Champion, Summit Mineral Water and K&G Golf.