Huang emerges from the rain as Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific champion

    Almost the entire field was in the clubhouse by the time the rain hit, with the final group one of the only three balls still finishing their round.

    Much like the sudden change in the weather, Sunday signalled a variation in the week when two players broke free of the congested group fighting for the trophy and the two major championship starts, as well as a trip to the Augusta National Amateur Championship.

    Local hope, and the longest player in the field, Natthakritta Vongtaveelap was the first to do so after a par-birdie-eagle start to the final round, while Chinese Taipei’s Ting-Hsuan Huang took a little while longer to get going before eventually securing the championship.

    “I have not any expectations playing this tournament. Just learn from other top players and enjoy the game,” said the 17-year-old champion’s of her far exceeded plans this week.

    Learn she apparently did, the player who goes by Tiffany bouncing back from two bogeys in her opening four holes to sign for a three-under 69 and 11-under total, good enough for a two shot win over Vongtaveelap.

    Justice Bosio took out top Aussie honours in Thailand. PHOTO: Peter Van der Klooster/Getty Images.

    Her dazzling run began at the par-5 8th where she made a birdie four, while her playing partner Vongtaveelap couldn’t take advantage of her prodigious length and took par.

    It was birdies at the next for the pair as their fellow overnight leader Suvichaya Vinijchaitham tried desperately to hold on before fading over the back nine.

    It was a more dramatic disappearance from contention from the fourth player to start the day at eight-under, Jiyoo Lim of Korea eventually signing for a 10 at the par-5 6th hole after finding the water, then a heavily vegetated area where she had an air swing and incurred a two-shot penalty when she was deemed to be improving her lie when her practise swing.

    It was Vongtaveelap who appeared the likely winner as she finally seemed to hit wedge shots that were remotely of the quality of her driving, birdie at the 10th taking the World No.36 to 12-under.

    The par-3 12th saw a two shot swing against her though. Huang holing her bunker shot from an iffy lie for a birdie while the 19-year-old took bogey dropping her margin to two.

    “It’s very lucky,” Huang said of the holed bunker shot. “I can’t imagine that.”

    Vongtaveelap lost two more shots to par and couldn’t find another birdie coming in to put pressure on Huang, who idolises Yani Tseng and occasionally practises with the former World No.1.

    Kelsey Bennett’s final day charge never got going in Thailand. PHOTO: Peter Van der Klooster/Getty Images.

    Showing a determination and ability to withstand pressure beyond her years, Huang added birdies at 14 and 15 before bogey at the penultimate hole left her playing the 72nd hole in the sudden rain with a one shot lead.

    Rain and all eyes watching, with the home fans cheering on her competitor, did not deter Huang who stuck her third shot at the par-5 in close.

    Again Vongtaveelap’s shaky putter couldn’t add to the nerves of the occasion for her younger opponent, the Thai’s birdie try never a chance.

    Huang, who will head to play college golf in America for UCLA next year, didn’t make the same mistake and calmly rolled her 277th shot of the week into the cup for an historic win in this still young championship.

    “It means a lot to me, and I’m very lucky to win this tournament, and especially I want to thank Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation and the R&A,” the champion said. “I’m really looking forward to playing the major tournaments with world top players.”

    Further down the field, the Kelsey Bennett final day charge never eventuated.

    The 22-year-old’s run coming unstuck almost immediately with a hat-trick of bogeys to open her day.

    “Shocking,” Bennett said of her start. “Just couldn’t get any rhythm going.”

    That continued for much of the day as she valiantly attempted to hold on, but she likely knew her championship was over when playing from the fairway bunker of the par-5 10th and a mobile phone caused distraction and another bunker, this time with the added difficulty of a plugged lie in the face.

    One leg in the bunker and one out, the next shot also found sand and a bogey putt that lipped-out was fairly representative of her week.

    “I struck the ball pretty well all week, I was just a bit off from the tee today, not much I can do. If they drop they drop, if they don’t they don’t,” she said of her eventual tie for 21st on one-under.

    Bennett’s struggles did allow for one of her younger teammates to wrestle away top Australian honours for the first time of the week. Justice Bosio, just 18 years old, surviving a tough finish of two bogeys and one birdie in the space of five holes to finish on two-under and in share of 19th.

    “It means a lot to me, and I’m very lucky to win this tournament … I’m really looking forward to playing the major tournaments with world top players.” – Ting-Hsuan Huang.

    “It was very frustrating out there, I had so many chances,” Bosio told Golf Australia magazine. “But if I hold top Aussie that would still be a really great achievement and it would make me feel a little bit better about the last round.

    “It is a good learning experience. Great experience and it makes me excited to see what’s to come in the future.”

    West Australian Maddison Hinson-Tolchard managed her first under par round of the week, the Oklahoma State University player signing for 71 and T29 at two-over.

    One shot further back were 15-year-old Sarah Hammett and Kirsten Rudgeley, while Caitlin Peirce rounded out the Aussie contingent in a share of 39th on five-over.

    © Golf Australia. All rights reserved.

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