Call it a two-day unofficial event if you want. I will tell you this. I have not been as happy to post a story on my blog than this since Kim Clijsters won the 2011 Australian Open (tennis). From the day I saw Jenny Chuasiriporn at the 1998 US Women’s Open, I have kept a keen eye on golfers of Thai heritage (full or partial). Obviously, the greatest of them all is Tiger Woods. But I am an LPGA fan, so players like Aree Song, Russamee Gulyanamitta and Virada Nirapathpongporn have been closely watched by me. Unfortunately, while there are some Symetra Tour wins in there (Futures Tour at the time) they were unable to win an LPGA event, official or unofficial save for one. Stacy Prammanasudh is a two-time LPGA winner (2007 Fields Open, 2005 Franklin American Mortgage Championship). However, 2007 seems like ages ago. Now finally, after posting a 2-day 13-under par, Pornanong Phatlum finally records another win by a player of Thai heritage.
With her brother and fellow golfer, Pornpong Phatlum, caddying for her, she finished 4 shots ahead of 2nd place finisher Amy Hung and 5 shots ahead of 9-time LPGA winner Paula Creamer. Pornanong’s 13-under is the tournament record low score for the event, now in its 4th year. Her prize money will not count on the official LPGA Money List and that’s too bad. But still, $108,000 is real money in her bank account. Very important for a player like Pornanong trying to make it out on tour. For her, I imagine it’s a very big deal, as it should be. So congratulations to Pornanong. I hope she adds to this win with an official event in the near future. I have to think her confidence with get a big boost. She is coming off a tie for 12th at Mobile at 10-under. She can play. No doubts there.
Another story from Brasil Cup 2012 that I followed is the return of Angela Park. I remember a few years ago watching an event where Johnny Miller couldn’t stop gushing about Angela’s swing. The 2007 LPGA Rookie of the Year seemed like the next player on the verge of big things. Then almost overnight (it seemed), her game just left her. Her scores plummeted. Then finally following the 2010 season she walked away from the tour, citing mental and physical exhaustion. Honestly, I wondered if we had seen the last of Angela on the LPGA. But in her native Brasil (or Brazil), she finally made her return. Forget her 7-over score. That doesn’t matter. The journey back starts with the first step. Best wishes, Angela. There are a lot of LPGA fans, including myself, rooting for you! 🙂