(Field Level Media) - Thidapa Suwannapura hardly could believe it after she outlasted Brittany Lincicome in a sudden-death playoff to win the Marathon Classic in Sylvania, Ohio.
The victory was a long time coming for Suwannapura, a native of Thailand who had not won in 120 career starts on the tour.
She entered the weekend with only two top-10 finishes, including a career-best seventh-place finish in the 2014 Kingsmill Championship in Williamsburg, Va.
“After I knocked that last putt in, it just felt like a dream come true,” Suwannapura said to reporters after her win. “I’ve been waiting for this for a while, and I didn’t think it was going to happen today, so I’ll just keep trying my best and hopefully it comes out. And today is the day.”
The 25-year-old Suwannapura sealed the win with a birdie on the first playoff hole. She lofted an approach shot that came to rest about five feet from the pin and calmly drained a putt for a birdie on the par-5 18th hole.
Lincicome, who scored par on the hole, quickly approached Suwannapura for a congratulatory hug.
Suwannapura shot a 6-under 65 on the final day to finish 14-under 270 for the tournament. Lincicome also was 14 under after shooting a 4-under 67.
Lincicome admitted that she battled nerves during the playoff showdown.
“Juli Inkster told me if I wasn’t nervous, I’m not human,” Lincicome said. “So you just don’t care. I still have the drive. I still want to compete. I still want to be the best that I can be. And I guess if I didn’t have the nerves, I should probably give up the game.”
Brooke Henderson, who entered the final round with a one-stroke lead, shot a 2-under 69 to finish in third place at 13 under. Austin Ernst was two strokes off the lead at 12 under after an impressive 66 on the final day.
Four golfers finished tied for fifth place at 11 under. The group included Americans Jacqui Concolino and Emma Talley, as well as Daniela Darquea of Ecuador and Mirim Lee of South Korea.
Suwannapura earned $240,000 for her first win. She has earned $312,546 this season and $927,954 over the course of her career.
She became the third player from Thailand to win on the LPGA Tour. The others are sisters Ariya Jutanugarn and Moriya Jutanugarn.
“It means a lot,” Suwannapura said. “Especially my parents in Thailand. They’re cheering for me. They’re staying up all night just to watch the score. ... I mean, yeah, everybody in Thailand, I think, are waiting for this to happen.”
Field Level Media