NEW DELHI -- Thidapa Sunawannapura secured the fourth Thai win from seven editions of the Hero Women's Indian Open when she maintained her overnight lead to triumph by three shots at the venerable Delhi Golf Club.
The 21-year-old from Bangkok opened with a 66 to share the lead after the first round and held her advantage throughout the tournament, moving a stroke clear with a second round 74 and then extending her lead to three with a final round 68 to total 8-under 208, three strokes better than Derrey who finished sole second, while Chamchoi and Hannah Burke of England shared honours on third spot on 212.
Thidapa did not declare that she was the best but proudly said that she was the toughest as the Delhi Golf Club was the toughest course she had ever played.
"This is my biggest win in my career. I'll cherish every moment of it. India is my favourite destination," said the proud lass from Bangkok.
With the win, the Thais' stranglehold on Indian soil continues. Russamee Gulyanamitta lost in a playoff with Taiwan's Tseng Ya-Ni in 2007, then Pornanong Phatlum, won it three times in 2008, 2009 and 2012 and in 2010 Nontaya Srisawang lost in a playoff with England's Laura Davis. And now, Thidapa - the new champion.
"I'm very happy, I never thought I could win here.It'my biggest win and part of my dream too. My dad told me this morning that he would be very proud of me if I win. So I did not let him down.
"I concentrated on my game and did not look at anybody or even the leaderboard. I was only talking to myself but knew I was leading because we were the leading group," said Thidapa, who posted birdies on the first, ninth, 13th and 14th holes.
Derrey knew she lost her grip when Thidapa made birdie on the 13th and 14th hole.
"I did not make the putts on the 11th, 12th and 14th and when Thidapa made the birdie on 13th and 14th I knew my chances were very remote unless Thidapa drops but she didn't and I have to give her that credit," she said.
Rookie Chamchoi, from Lopburi province, playing on the LAGT Tour for the first time this season, said her game had been good and the good position she attained would certainly inspire her to work harder.
For India, amateur golfer Monga Gauri, who finished tied 5th with Charley Hull of England and Berth Allan of USA, was the toast of the day.
Monga showed promise to take Indian golf to great heights. "I have been very consistent and feeling like a winner. I was to play in the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea next year before deciding to turn professional," she said.
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