BELLEAIR, Fla. — Major champion and ANNIKA alum Patty Tavatanakit went on a tear on day one of The ANNIKA driven by Gainbridge at Pelican, carding a bogey-free, 7-under 63 to sit one back of the lead held by Brooke Henderson. After opening with three pars, the 24-year-old rattled off three consecutive birdies on holes 4, 5 and 6 to move to 3-under early and turn in 32. She picked up another birdie on the par-4 10th hole and snagged another on the par-5 14th hole before making back-to-back birdies on 17 and 18 to post her lowest round of the 2023 LPGA Tour season.
The 63 is Tavatanakit’s second-lowest career round on the LPGA Tour, two shots higher than the 61 she recorded during the final round of the 2019 Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic, and is her lowest round since becoming a member of the LPGA Tour in 2020. The UCLA alum entered the week at 61st in the Race to the CME Globe point standings, just outside the top-60 cutoff for qualification into the CME Group Tour Championship and was proud of her ability to put up a number deep in the red with her back against the wall and the end of the season looming large.
“I've been preparing for this event. Obviously, I knew what I had to do,” said Tavatanakit, who is currently projected at 44th in the Race to the CME Globe. “I'm pretty stressed, but at the same time, I feel like I did everything under my control. I did everything with no regrets. I'm just going to be out here and know at the back of my mind that I did everything I could. There are no regrets there, so it's a little bit of a secure mindset.”
After an impressive 2021 season that saw her become a Rolex First-Time Winner at The Chevron Championship and earn nine additional top 10s and a challenging 2022 season that saw her find the top 10 twice and miss eight cuts, 2023 has been pretty solid for Tavatanakit. She’s only missed five cuts in 21 starts ahead of this week and has recorded two top-10 finishes, a tie for third at the DIO Implant LA Open and a tie for sixth at the FREED GROUP Women's Scottish Open presented by Trust Golf.
This week at The ANNIKA marks Tavatanakit’s third time teeing it up at Pelican Golf Club, and thus far, she is primed to improve upon her tournament-best finish of T6 that came in 2021. But there is still plenty of golf to be played in Belleair, Fla., and Tavatanakit has a few intrinsic goals she’d like to accomplish that fall outside playing her way into the field at Tiburón Golf Club, things that she has been working on hard to finish her fourth year on Tour as strong as possible.
“I think just be athletic and just bringing back to the flow of playing golf. I feel like that has been the toughest challenge,” Tavatanakit said. “But overall, I did really good today, and I felt like the past three, couple of events I played in Asia, I did that really well, too. Just things weren't falling in the right place at the right time.
“I think my scoring has been really good for the past couple of tournaments now. I feel like I'm making birdies. But today, like I just didn't make any bogeys, so it turned out great. Overall, it was a good flow.”