Thailand’s Patty Tavatanakit claimed her first major victory at the 2021 ANA Inspiration, calmly closing out the win with a bogey-free 68 at Mission Hills Country Club in California, having held the lead since the opening round.
The 21-year-old rookie started the final day five shots clear of a chasing pack which included the world No.1 and four past ANA Inspiration champions. It was the 2016 champion, Lydia Ko, who came closest to thwarting Tavatanakit’s maiden LPGA victory as she surged up the leaderboard with a stunning final round of 62, finishing just two shots back in second place.
Ko fired seven birdies and an eagle on the first 11 holes of the Dinah Shore course to threaten Tavatanakit’s lead, but it still wasn’t enough as the Thai player held her nerve with a string of par saves over the closing holes to finish on 18 under par and become the first rookie to win the tournament since Julie Inkster in 1984.
Tavatanakit’s said: “I turned 21 six months ago and now I’m a major champion in my rookie year, which is just crazy. I didn’t get a lot of sleep last night. But I meditated twice before going out to play which helped me stay calm. I told myself to be patient, as I knew it was going to be hard out here, and I had got to be really strong mentally.”
England’s Charley Hull finished tied 14th on seven under alongside compatriot Mel Reid, who finished strongly with a 67, while Georgia Hall, whose hopes of victory faded with a third round 77, finished tied 36th after a closing 69.
Patty Tavatanakit’s winning gear
Driver: Ping G410 LST (9°)
3-wood: Ping G425 Max (14.5°)
Hybrid: Ping G425
Irons: Ping i210 (4-PW)
Wedges: Ping Glide Forged (50, 56, 60)
Putter: Bettinardi Studio Stock 3 prototype
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x