Pornanong Phatlum conjured a piece of magic on the closing hole to win the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters held under the patronage of HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
The 24-year-old from Chaiyaphum in Thailand drilled her approach shot with a 54 degree wedge over the lake guarding the green to within two feet of the cup and holed the birdie putt with little fluster, beating her nearest challenger Stacy Lewis by one shot and becoming the first Thai player to win the season-ending Ladies European Tour event in Dubai.
China’s Jing Yan rounded off a great day for Asian women’s golf when she closed with a 71 for a total of two-under 286 to take the leading amateur medal.
It was Phatlum who took centre-stage with a stunning charge coming down the stretch to edge past Lewis, who appeared to be on cruise control most of the day. The equation changed on the 17th when the Thai ace drew level with a birdie.
Both players stood on the 18th tee at 14-under, but Phatlum, who carded a closing 66, clinched the title with a birdie while Lewis had to settle for par after her approach from the rough left her with a long birdie putt of around 40 feet.
“I am very excited. I just played my own game and stayed calm under pressure,” said Phatlum after the receiving the winner’s trophy from Raynald Aeschlimann, vice president, International Sales Director of Omega, in the presence of Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice chairman and CEO of golf in DUBAi and representatives of the sponsors.
“I have learned how to stay focused through meditation which I practice with my brother, who caddies for me,” said Phatlum, who received a cheque for euro 75,000 for her victory, her second on the Ladies European Tour after the 2012 Hero Women’s Indian Open.
“When I’m on the course I just play my game and I didn’t think about the win, or like, I don’t want to pressure myself.”
Lewis said: “I’m disappointed. The back nine that Pornanong played was pretty impressive. She hit golf shots when she needed to and made the putts and I didn’t.
“It’s been a really good year. It’s had it’s highs and lows. I’ve played some really consistent golf.”
Carlota Ciganda of Spain ended seven shots behind Lewis in solo third place, followed by Italian Diana Luna in fourth.
The defending champion Shanshan Feng, Laura Davies and Louise Larsson tied for fifth place.
Davies recorded her second best finish of the year after finishing fifth in Sweden, while Feng achieved her target of finishing in the top five.