Sealed with an eagle on the final hole, 2021 ANA Inspiration champion Patty Tavatanakit took the second-round lead at the Honda LPGA Thailand after a second-straight 8-under 64. Her -16 overall ties the 36-hole scoring record last achieved by Jessica Korda in her 2018 victory at Siam Country Club. Tavatanakit said making that 12-foot eagle putt only boosted her confidence heading into Saturday.
“Didn’t really hit a good drive off 18 and then just kind of forgot about it, don’t let it bother me and move on to the second shot, which was pretty good actually. It was 246 to the hole and probably like 210 to the front, so I was just trying to hit the front number and I hit a really good shot,” said It came on the really hot, which is a little bit of low spin into that soft ground and a little bit of an up slope. Just the perfect shot.”
Tavatanakit started strong with three birdies in her first five holes, adding on two in her last nine holes along with the eagle on No. 18. The 21-year-old has only carded four bogeys in her last 90 holes, going back to the HSBC Women’s World Championship where she finished T2. Tavatanakit said even though she’s continuously working through parts of her game, she’s still confident with her three-shot leading heading into the final two days.
“Yesterday was probably a perfect day of ball striking, but today wasn’t. Just goes to show that no matter how not perfect you are, you can still manage to get yourself together around the course to shoot low scores,” said Tavatanakit. “I feel like (my game) is around like 75 to 80%. My irons have been phenomenal since last week, and I think that’s a huge part of my success so far. But off the tee here and there it’s a driver, and there are more error to it with like more dispersion. My pattern is okay. Every ball is in play. It’s not like I hit some weird shots. I still feel confident going into the weekend.”
Atthaya Thitikul, the 18-year-old sponsor invite, sits in second at -13 after a 67 on Friday that included her third eagle in 25 holes on No. 7. “I’m really surprise with that eagle,” said Thitikul. “When I going to putt I feel like did I going to make it again with eagle? Like two day with three eagles. Can I or not? I just putt what I see and then it’s went in. I was like, Okay. Nice. You know, good job. You did it again.”
Thitikul pushed Tavatanakit in the final grouping all day, trading birdies back and forth with the major champion. Though she said she left a few putts out there on the Old Course, Thitikul knows what to focus on to get her name back on top of the leaderboard.
“I think today I going to go straight to driving range for fixing some of my iron and some putt thing. I think putting is the most important thing here in Honda LPGA,” said Thitikul. “You know, like everyone can hit in the green and hit close to the pin, but if you can make it, then your day was go like so smooth.”
Caroline Masson recorded a second-consecutive bogey-free 66 to sit in third at -12, thanks to six birdies, including four in her final eight holes. Masson is one of only two players, the other being Nanna Koerstz Madsen, who are bogey-free through 36 holes in Chonburi. Gaby Lopez, Lydia Ko and Koerstz Madsen sit in a tie for fourth at -11. At one point Ko was tied for the lead with three birdies in her first four holes, but a double on No. 5 had her chasing the leaders once more.
“I started off really well. Hit my ball towards the rough. Wasn’t actually that far where we should have been able to find it, but cameraman said it’s in that kind of proximity and we couldn’t find it, and it’s pretty dark under the trees anyway,” said Ko. “So unfortunate there, but I hung in there and made some good birdies. So, yeah, overall happy with the way I played today.”
Hee Young Park, Ariya Jutanugarn and defending champion Amy Yang sit in a tie for seventh at -10.