Call it fate, timing, or even the work of the golf gods, but sometimes there’s just no better way to understand that which can’t be understood in the game.
How else can it be explained that rookie Natthakrita Vongtaveelap would lose a 4-stoke lead on the final day in her first LPGA Tour start, and do so while in the midst of a bid to become only the second Thai player to win the Honda LPGA Thailand? It was a heartbreaking end to what would have been an epic Cinderella story.
How does that make sense?
Many will say it just wasn’t Vongtaveelap’s time. But the exact opposite could be said for Lilia Vu, who seemingly had all the golfing deities smiling down on her during that final day in Thailand. The American came from an improbable 6-strokes back to win for the first time on the LPGA Tour.
How was that possible?
Simply, it was Vu’s time.
“I always knew I was going to win, I just got [to] let it happen,” Vu said after her maiden win at the Siam Country Club.
Vu had simply left her fate up to fate. After three years of grinding on the LPGA Tour, with a down period in the middle where she thought about quitting the game before going to the Epson Tour and remembering how to win, Vu knew she had done the work to make it happen. She simply had to wait for victory to become reality.
“The more you hold onto something I feel like it gets further away,” Vu explained about her change in mindset. “I came close a lot towards the end of the last season, so I was just going to have fun and play my game and it would eventually work itself out.”
Vu edged out Vongtaveelap to win by a single stroke, but also held off a pack of LPGA Tour winners in Atthaya Thitikul, who finished solo third in her season debut, and Jin Young Ko, who matched Vu for the low round of the day with a 64 on Sunday to claim a tie for sixth.
Expect another stellar showdown as the tour shifts from Thailand to Singapore where the world’s best will go head-to-head for the second consecutive week, this time at the HSBC Women’s World Championship. Come Thursday, Sentosa Golf Club will see a limited field of less than 70 players compete over 72-holes, in the no cut event, for a $1.8 million purse.
Often referred to as ‘Asia’s Major,’ the HSBC Women’s World Championship has an illustrious list of past champions which features the biggest names in the women’s game. In the event’s 14-year history, 11 of the 13 champions have won at least one major championship, including Hyo Joo Kim (2021), Sung Hyun Park (2019), Michelle Wie West (2018), Inbee Park (2017, 2015), Paula Creamer (2014), Stacy Lewis (2013), Angela Stanford (2012), Karrie Webb (2011), Jiyai Shin (2009), and Lorena Ochoa (2008).
Again this season the HSBC Women’s World Championship lives up to its nickname with a field that features 18 of the top 20 in the Rolex Rankings, which includes each of the five major champions of 2022 - Chevron Champion Jennifer Kupcho, U.S. Women’s Open Champion Minjee Lee, KPMG Women’s PGA Champion In Gee Chun, and Amundi Evian Champion Brooke Henderson.
In Singapore, two-time major champion Jin Young Ko will compete for the second consecutive week and will see what fate has in store as she seeks to defend her title for the first time on the LPGA Tour this year. The former world No. 1 won her only title of 2022 in Singapore where she carded a final round 66 to pull out a narrow two-stroke victory ahead of a pack of major champions that included Lee, Chun, Henderson, Jeongeun Lee6, Hannah Green, and Danielle Kang.
For 14 years, the biggest names in the women’s game have come away victorious at ‘Asia’s Major.’ And with a stacked field slated to compete once more in Singapore, the newest winner of the HSBC Women’s World Championship will, no doubt, be one of the best in the women’s game.
Who will that be? Ask the golf gods.