Leona Maguire saved her best for last at the Honda LPGA Thailand, as she made it five top-10 finishes in her last six LPGA Tour starts while Lilia Vu came from behind to win her maiden LPGA title.
Maguire carded her third bogey-free round of the week with a 65 to shoot up the leaderboard with a sixteen-under-total.
A level-par 72 in round three had ended the Cavan native’s hopes of contending for a second LPGA Tour title but seven birdies and just 26 putts ensured she ended the week with a flourish.
Maguire started strongly with a brace of opening birdies before adding another on seven.
The back nine saw the world number eleven birdie in pairs with successive gains coming on 10 and 11 before she finished as she started with birdies on 17 and 18 for a share of fifth place alongside former world number ones Jin Young Ko and Nelly Korda.
“Yeah, played really solid, probably the best I played all week. Nice to go bogey-free on a Sunday. Felt like I played really solid all week. Just six holes yesterday afternoon kind of cost me.
“But it was nice to sort of finish with a birdie last night I think, and bring that momentum into today. Got off to a really nice start. Birdied the first two holes. Just hit some really nice shots today. Hit a few in close so didn’t have to do too much work with the putter which was nice.”
The 28-year-old is gunning for Singapore after seeing some positive signs and three bogey-free rounds has boosted her confidence heading to a place she enjoys.
“Yeah, I mean, to go three days bogey-free, I don’t know if I’ve ever done that before, so hopefully more of the same next week. I really like these two events. This is a really good week. I like it here. I like the food. It’s not too hot this year, which was nice.
“I really enjoyed Singapore last year, too. It’s a nice place to be, so looking forward to next week, yeah.
“I think my short game was really tidy this week, so any time I did miss a green I got it up and down or didn’t give myself too much stress for par putts, which was nice.
“So, yeah, just trying to fine tune everything. Drove it decently well this week as well. Yeah, just keep fine tuning everything really.”
Ko bettered Maguire’s effort by one stroke which included an eagle on the par-5 7th. 2022 was a constant struggle for the Korean who battled a persistent wrist injury but she hopes to have put some teary days behind her.
“Well, yeah, it’s been a long time to play under par-4 rounds, like since last year, so, yeah. I work hard in Vietnam for winter training. Still hard work, too.
“So, yeah, I cried a lot last year in front of my parents, but, yeah, golf is a lot of ups and downs so we have to focus on my game and try to get better then better. I think it works.”
Vu also bettered Maguire’s round by one with a blistering bogey-free eight-under 64 of her own but with much more reward as she scooped her first main tour gong after three Symetra tour wins.
Vu was in the mix last week in Saudi Arabia and managed to maintain her form to win with five successive birdies either side of the turn proving crucial as she finished on 22-under, one ahead of overnight leader Natthakritta Vongtaveelap.
Vongtaveelap teed off with a four-shot advantage and remarkably carded just one par on a rollercoaster front nine.
The Thai opened with a birdie but gave it back on the second. Her only par came on the third before she doubled the par-3 4th but did recover one shot on the fifth with her second birdie of the day.
A quite bizarre run of bogey, birdie, birdie, bogey closed out her front nine before she started her back nine with birdie, bogey birdie and after her second par of the day on 13 she birdied 14 to move back within one of Vu and remarkably go under par for the round.
Amazingly it was a steady run of four successive pars that halted her progress towards the end as she signed for a 71.
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