Unassailable Kan seals MLAO victory

Thailand's Kan Bunnabodee with the MLAO trophy ©Mike Casper|The ClubHouse

Shah Alam [SELANGOR]: Thai teenager Kan Bunnabodee continued her impressive winning streak as she swept to a resounding victory at the 34th Malaysian Ladies Amateur Open (MLAO) on Friday.

Six strokes clear of the field heading into the final round,  the 15-year-old Bangkok native underlined her growing stature as one of the region’s future stars with a closing even-par effort at the Glenmarie Golf & Country Club.

That gave Kan a 54-hole total of four-under 212 and a eight -stroke success over Filipina Mikhaela Fortuna with the Malaysian pair of Nur Durriyah Damian and Natasha Andrea Oon a further shot back in joint third.

Having opened her campaign with brilliant efforts of 71 and 69, Kan returned with one birdie and a bogey on her card to seal her victory in fine fashion.

“Winning in Singapore and now here is a dream come true! I’m so happy because at the start of the week, I thought that the golf course was a bit hilly and it was going to be a real challenge. But I played to the best of my ability – drove the ball really well –  and I’m glad it proved more than enough.

“I wasn’t  really happy with my closing effort today because I couldn’t muster more than one birdie but I was pretty relaxed out there because none of my competitors really made a charge,” added Kan, who also led Thailand to the team championship.

Kan Bunnabodee ©Mike Casper|The ClubHouse

The Thai lass has now won in all five of her starts so far this year, clinching titles at two TGA-SINGHA Junior Golf Championship events in addition to triumphing at March’s Singapore Ladies Amateur Open and the SINGHA Thailand Amateur Match Play Championship last Sunday.

“I’m not doing anything more that working hard on my game. I usually practice difficult shots and then try to execute them during tournaments. It’s working well,” shared Kan, who will not feature in the Thai team for the Asia-Pacific Amateur Ladies Team Golf Championship (Queen Sirikit Cup).

She hopes to follow in the footsteps of her coach Virada Nirapathpongporn, who won the US Women’s Amateur in 2003 and went on to play professionally at the highest level on the LPGA.

Virada, a former Duke University standout where she won the 2002 NCAA Division 1 Championship, is currently the high performance manager of the Thailand Ladies Golf Association (TALGA).

“I hope to go to college in the United States before turning professional. Coach  Virada is a big inspiration and she has been a great help and support to me,” said Kan.

Leading final results (Par-72) >
212 – Kan Bunnabodee (THA) 71-69-72
220 – Mikhaela Fortuna (PHI) 73-75-72
221 – Nur Durriyah Damian 77-72-72, Natasha Andrea Oon 69-77-75
223 – Tvesa Malik (IND) 75-75-73, Liyana Azizan Durisic 74-76-73, Vanessa Bouvet (FRA) 74-72-77
224 – Callista Chen (SIN) 84-69-71
225 – Kultida Pramphun (THA) 75-75-75
226 – Diksha Dagar (IND) 79-75-72, Winnie Ng Yu Xuan 76-78-72
227 – Geraldine Wong Xiao Xuan 78-74-75, Warda Amira Abdul Rawof 74-77-76