Patty Tavatanakit (Bangkok, Thailand) wins the 2019 Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge. It took 73 holes, but a birdie in the first extra frame of a sudden-death playoff by Tavatanakit sealed victory at the fifth annual Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge this afternoon for her third win of the season.
The UCLA alumna found the bottom of the cup for birdie on No. 18 during regulation at Willow Run Golf Course to cap a final round 8-under par 62 and take the clubhouse lead of 13-under overall. Tavatanakit then watched as Yujeong Son (Busan, Republic of Korea) drained her own birdie out of the final pairing, three groups later. From there, they went back to No. 18 tee and the rest is history.
“Definitely very surreal, I didn’t expect to get this win,” said Tavatanakit, who entered the day six shots back of the lead. “I just hoped to play well and climb the leaderboard for a bigger check to move up the money list. I wanted to be the first player out here to win three times this year, so I accomplished my goal and hard work really pays off.”
As for Tavatanakit’s third time in the winner’s circle, the Battlefield Promotion to the LPGA Tour is no longer in play. The change was part of the overall restructuring with the installment of Q-Series in 2018. Although a three-time champion on the “Road to the LPGA”did previously get a position on the LPGA’s priority list for the remainder of the LPGA season, she did not receive official LPGA Tour membership.
Regardless, Tavatanakit plans to compete in each of the final four events on the Symetra Tour calendar and fully prepare for what looks like her rookie season on the LPGA in 2020. For now, three wins in eight events even had Tavatanakit somewhat shocked about the body of work since her debut in June at the Island Resort Championship.
“It’s hard to get a picture of what I’ve been able to accomplish,” Tavatanakit said. “I set my goals and have lived in the moment really well for the past three months since turning pro. I just focus on what I need to do to be a better player. All I want is to improve every time I step on the course. It’s pretty unreal for how far I have come and what the future holds too.”
SON FALLS IN PLAYOFF, SECURES CAREER-BEST RESULT
Even though the finish in the Mount Rushmore State was not exactly what Yujeong Son was hoping for, the runner-up result serves as a career-best in her rookie season. It also launched the 18-year-old up 12 spots in the Volvik Race for the Card to No. 15.
Competing out of the final grouping, Son carded a bogey-free, 4-under par 66 to end at 13-under overall and force a sudden-death playoff with Tavatanakit. Over her last seven starts, Son owns five top-10s.
“I didn’t really expect to make my putt on No. 18 the first try, so I felt lucky,” said Son. “Unfortunately, the luck didn’t come in the playoff. Patty played great and I did my best out there, which is the best I can do. It gives me great confidence going into the last four tournaments, hard to believe we only have that many left. I’m excited to see what happens and keep working on the course.”
VOLVIK RACE FOR THE CARD STANDINGS AFTER WEEK NINETEEN
Following the 19th tournament of the 2019 Symetra Tour season, the Volvik Race for the Card welcomes a fresh top-10.
The victory and $33,750 winner’s check move Tavatanakit up three spots to No. 2 with $110,487 earned through eight total starts this season. Here is a look at the current top-10 heading into the sixth annual Garden City Charity Classic at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course in Garden City, Kan. from September 6-8:
- Tavatanakit, 19, is a native of Bangkok, Thailand
- Attended the Keerapat International School in native country
- Winner of the Callaway Junior World Golf Championship in 2014
- Named the 2016 American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) Player of the Year
- Two-time AJGA winner in 2016 at Ping Invitational and Rolex Tournament of Champions
- Member of the West Team at the 2017 Wyndham Cup and finished with 4-0-0 overall record
- Seven collegiate victories during her two years at UCLA, as well as total of 12 career top-10s
- 2018 Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) and Pac-12 Freshman of the Year honoree
- Two-time All-Pac 12 First Team and WGCA First Team All-American selection for the Bruins
- One of nine players that ended under par in the 2018 U.S. Women’s Open, finishing T5 to earn low amateur honors
- Made professional debut at 2019 U.S. Women’s Open with T34 result and Symetra Tour debut at 2019 Island Resort Championship going T14
- Carded a career low and 18-hole tournament scoring record 11-under par 61 in the final round of the 2019 Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic as a tournament sponsor exemption
- Stepped into the winner’s circle for the first time as a professional at the 2019 Donald Ross Classic
ABOUT SYMETRA TOUR
The Symetra Tour is the official qualifying tour of the LPGA Tour and enters its 39th competitive season in 2019. With the support of its entitlement partner Symetra, the Tour’s mission is to prepare the world’s best young women professional golfers for a successful career on the LPGA Tour. Since Symetra’s inaugural sponsorship year in 2012, the Symetra Tour has grown from 16 tournaments and $1.7 million in prize money to $4.0 million in prize money awarded over the course of 23 events. With more than 600 alumnae moving on to the LPGA, former Symetra Tour players have won a total of 437 LPGA titles. Follow the Symetra Tour on the web at www.SymetraTour.com, Facebook.com/Road2LPGA, Twitter.com/Road2LPGA, and YouTube.com/Road2LPGA.
Symetra Life Insurance Company is a subsidiary of Symetra Financial Corporation, a diversified financial services company based in Bellevue, Washington. In business since 1957, Symetra provides employee benefits, annuities and life insurance through a national network of benefit consultants, financial institutions and independent agents and advisors. Symetra began its partnership with the Road to the LPGA in 2010 as the title sponsor of the Symetra Classic. It secured naming rights for the Symetra Tour in November 2011. In addition to its title sponsorship of the Tour, which runs through 2021, Symetra sponsors two events on the tournament schedule—the Symetra Classic and the season-ending Symetra Tour Championship. For more information about Symetra, visit www.symetra.com.