Pornanong Phatlum opened with a bogey-free 33 to start the final round of the Hitachi Ladies Classic on the TLPGA and cruised her way home to a 5-shot victory over Pei-Yun Chien on the strength of her 2nd-straight 69. Finishing at -8, Phatlum beat bronze medalist Min-Sun Kim by 7 shots and the JLPGA's young gun Lala Anai by 8. Anai, however, did shoot the low round of the week, a 4-birdie, 1-eagle 67, that leapfrogged her past fellow JLPGAer Phoebe Yao, the LPGA's Amy Hung, the LET's Nontaya Srisawang, the Symetra Tour's Wei-Ling Hsu, and the TLPGA's Yu-Ling Hsieh.
It was a disappointing start to 2014 for the KLPGA's Bo-Mi Suh (+5, T17), the JLPGA's Yuki Sakurai (+6, T22), Yun-Joo Jeong (+6, T22), Kaori Ohe (+9, T28), and Porani Chutichai (+9, T28), the 2013 CLPGA Order of Merit winner Ye-Na Chung (+7, T24), the 2013 TLPGA money list leader Ya-Huei Lu (+11, T39), and American Tiffany Tavee (+7, T24). And it was only a so-so start for 2 of Taiwan's most promising young players, Babe Liu and Min Lee, both of whom ended up 11 shots behind Phatlum in a tie for 10th.
So Phatlum has shown she can chase down a former world #1 in the LET's season-ending event of 2014 and live up to expectations against a much weaker field in the TLPGA's season-opening event of 2014. Wonder what she has in store for us next?
[Update 1 (3:17 pm): Here's bangkokbobby's take!]