Vietnam Boat People’s granddaughter wins first LPGA championship
On the 26th, Lilia Vu (26, USA), the granddaughter of Vietnamese Boat People, won the championship at the LPGA Tour Honda Thailand (total prize money: $1.7 million). Korean women’s golf, which has dominated women’s golf for the past 20 years, has only won 18 tournaments. Thailand’s rookie Nata Krita Wongta Wirap (21), who competed for the trophy with her wealth until the end and finished runner-up, left a strong impression with her long hitting ability that reached 300 yards.
Ko Jin-young, who struggled with a wrist injury last year, hit 8 under par on the final day and tied for 6th, the best performance among Korean players.
In the 4th round of the tournament held at the Siam Country Club Pattaya Old Course (par 72) in Chonburi, Thailand, Boo made 8 birdies without a bogey and recorded a final total of 22 under par 266, beating 2nd place Wongta Wilap by 1 stroke to win the prize money I received $255,000 (about 330 million won).
She was 4th by 6 strokes until the 3rd round, but her green hit rate was only 61.1% on this day, but she succeeded in her comeback with a sophisticated short game and salty putt with only 21 putts. Drive shot distance averaged 274 yards.
It is known that Boo’s maternal grandfather, who was born in California and majored in political science at UCLA, fled Vietnam with his family in 1982 by relying on a boat. Both of her father’s parents are from Vietnam. Boo, who has been prominent since his junior days, played an active part in the UCLA golf club and debuted last year after winning three wins in the 2021 US Women’s Professional Golf (LPGA) 2nd Tour. Boo said, “There was a big gap from the lead, but I focused only on my game until the end,” and said, “I will do it more confidently in the future as I won his first championship.”
He led until the third round, and Wongta Wirap, who looked to win the first tournament in his debut, played with a hat from KB Financial, a domestic sponsor. With a refreshing swing, he hit a long hit that exceeded 300 yards with a ball speed of 160 miles per hour, similar to that of most male players. An official from KB Financial explained, “In line with the group’s strengthening of its global business in Southeast Asia, we signed a three-year contract with Wongtawi Lap, a runner-up in the Asia Pacific Amateur Championship, at the beginning of last year.” A fan of Korean food and Hallyu, he learned from the Korean coach Kim Jin-seop in Thailand for more than 7 years, and when he comes to Korea, Jang Myung-ryeol, a professional, is guiding him. Clothing and club shafts also use Korean brands. He is affectionately nicknamed ‘Sim’ and is said to have been nicknamed ‘Sim 300’ because he easily hit 300 yards. 안전놀이터
With the appearance of Wongtawi Lap, the typhoon on the LPGA tour is expected to become stronger. This is because former world No. 1 Eriya Jutanugarn and her sister Moriya Jutanugarn, 2021 Major ANA Inspiration winner Patty Tawatanakit, rookie king Ataya Titikkun who won two victories last year, and Wongtawirap joined.
Ko Jin-young caught 1 eagle and 6 birdies that day. Through this tournament, he was evaluated as regaining the power of computer shots that rarely missed fairways and greens. World No. 1 Lydia Ko (New Zealand) and No. 2 Nellie Korda (USA) were also tied for 6th. Korea has not won 18 consecutive championships since Jeon In-ji’s victory in June last year. This is the record for the most consecutive draws by a Korean player in 15 years since July 2007 to May 2008, when he failed to win 27 consecutive tournaments. The next tournament is the HSBC Women’s World Championships, which will be held in Singapore from March 2nd, and Ko Jin-young won last year.