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After rules controversy dominates headlines, the Honda LPGA Thailand gets a familiar winner in Amy Yang

February 24, 2019
amy yang Honda LPGA Thailand - Final Round

Thananuwat Srirasant

The most talked about story coming out of the Honda LPGA Thailand involved World No. 1 Ariya Jutanugarn and Amy Olson. When they celebrated after Olson's ball hit Jutanugarn's, keeping it from running far from the hole on 18th green during the second round, conversations on Twitter and beyond popped up about the controversial issue of "backstopping." Ultimately the LPGA Tour ruled there was no breach of the rule, meaning neither player was penalized.

While all of this was going on, another Amy—Amy Yang—was quietly making her way to the top of the leader board at Siam Country Club. It's a move that has become common for her in this event. With a seven-under 65 on Sunday, the 29-year-old from South Korea won by one stroke, bringing her total number of victories at the Honda LPGA Thailand to three.

It was hot in Thailand. Temperatures were in the 90s and the humidity was high all week, and then thunderstorms caused a break in play during the final round.

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Yang was paired with Minjee Lee on Sunday. Both started the day at 15 under, but that number plunged lower for Yang early in the round. After putting together a string of five straight birdies on the front nine, Yang turned with a five-under 31. She cooled off on the back nine. After a bogey at 14, she and Lee were tied. A birdie at 16 put Yang back out from by one, and when both players finished par-birdie, Yang had won her fourth career LPGA title.

With the $240,000 winner's check, Yang is a little more than $100,000 shy of $9 million dollar mark for career earnings.

When asked why she has had such success in Thailand—in addition to the wins, Yang has three other top-10s in the tournament—the champion said she wasn't sure. As for why things came together for her this week, she had a pretty simple answer: “[When] hitting and putting like works well together, the score goes low.” Yang, who has been on the LPGA Tour since 2008, missed a total of 13 greens during the tournament and averaged 28 putts per round.

Despite her impressive record in Thailand, Yang said she was still nervous playing the final round.

“I was honestly very nervous, especially last three holes,” said Yang. To cure the nerves, she said she told herself: “Just be patient, do your best. Just when nervous thinking rises, just let it go.”