Phatlum claims third Indian Open title


Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum gave herself an early 23rd birthday present by becoming the first woman to win the Hero Women’s Indian Open three times. Phatlum, who turns 23 on December 4, gave a dominant final round display at DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurgaon on Sunday.
She shot rounds of 72, 65 and 66 for a winning total of 203, 13 under par, winning by four strokes from the defending champion Caroline Hedwall. “I’m so happy now. It’s like a big tournament; I won and in two days it will be my birthday so it’s going to be a big present for me,” said Phatlum, who previously won the event on the same golf course in 2008 and 2009, when it was sanctioned by the Ladies Asian Golf Tour and Women’s Golf Association of India, before it became tri-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour.
“I love winning at this golf course and I like to play here very much,” continued the diminutive world No 93, who stands 5’3” tall. “I think my approach shots and putting were the best part of my game. I have a lot of pressure today but I told myself to relax.”
The colourfully dressed Phatlum may be softly spoken and shy when speaking English, but she let her golf do the talking on a warm and sunny final day near New Delhi.
Having started the final round tied for the lead with Australian Bree Arthur on seven under par, she took control of the championship with an outward nine of five under 31 in the final round, to gain a three stroke lead over Hedwall, to whom she had finished second 12 months earlier.
It turned out to be an exciting final round duel and both players birdied the first hole. Hedwall then caught Phatlum with a birdie on the fifth.
At the par-five sixth, Phatlum made a 15-footer for eagle while Hedwall could only respond with a birdie after finding the bunker right, short of the green.