Rarely do you get a second chance to make a first impression. But Patty Tavatanakit, a member of the 2020 rookie class that got another shot at their fledgling season, is doing just that. Last year was tough for the former UCLA Bruin with seven missed cuts and just a single top-10 finish. But she’s entirely flipped the script in 2021, nabbing her first LPGA Tour victory and major title at the Chevron Championship in April and carding nine top-10 finishes so far this season. Following the BMW Championship, Tavatanakit locked up the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award, beating out Solheim Cup hero Leona Maguire for the title.
At this week’s Pelican Women’s Championship presented by Konica Minolta and Raymond James, the 22-year-old Thai continues to prove she belongs, shooting a third-round 64 to sit three back after Saturday.
“I started off really strong,” she said of her third-round effort. “Made some putts. Hit a bunch of good shots. Putts dropped and just got my momentum going there. I'm pretty comfortable with my stroke and where I started. I have been giving it really good reads and it's one of those weeks where you can just read the greens.”
Heading into Sunday at Pelican Golf Club with more stellar golf from the world’s best on tap, Patty is primed to once again make her presence felt, not to be counted out at 13 under. While she’s had her mind on lighter fare this week and is much more concerned with getting to the end of the season than winning, you can be sure that if blood hits the water, Tavatanakit will be ready to strike, adding to her impressive 2021 campaign. Though she’s exceeded all her plans in a short period of time, a win is a win and would add an exclamation point to the Rookie of the Year honor.
“It's just my first year. I got Rookie of the Year. I don't want to put myself in a stressful situation. I just want to go out there and enjoy. It's been light and I want to keep it light. I don't want to think about winning tomorrow because if it were to be mine, it will be mine tomorrow if I can hole putts, hit good shots and execute. If not, I'll just go out there and just finish another round and be one step closer to the off-season. I'm a little bit comfortable out here, not worrying too much about making cuts or making money. I do know that I have the potential to be out there and to be great out here.
“But to succeed this fast, this is not even what I can see myself in a couple of years down the road. It's been a blast to have the opportunity to be in contention, just keep playing well.”