Sept. 10, 2007
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -
Former Purdue golfer, Onnarin Sattayabanphot won her first professional title on the Duramed FUTURES Tour on Sunday. She edged Allison Fouch of Grand Rapids, Mich., by one shot when Fouch bogeyed the final hole at the ILOVENY Championship at Capital Hills in Albany, N.Y. Sattayabanphot of Bangkok, Thailand, carded rounds of 71-67-72 to win the Duramed FUTURES Tour's final tournament at 210 (-3).
That finish enabled the former Big Ten Player of the Year to climb into the top 15 on the Tour's season money list to advance automatically into the LPGA's Final Qualifying Tournament in late November. Both winning as a pro and earning a trip to LPGA Q-School were high priorities for the rookie at the start of the season.
"It means a lot to me this week," said Sattayabanphot, 23, a former All-American. "I always wondered if I could win out here. Now, I know."
Sattayabanphot came close to winning the first title of her rookie season in June, losing a two-hole playoff to Emily Bastel, the top golfer on the FUTURES Tour this season, at the Michelob ULTRA Duramed Futures Players Championship in Decatur, Ill. Sattayabanphot drained a long putt on top of Bastel to force the second extra hole and walked off the green eyes blazing, face flushed and fists clutched with excitement. If there was any doubt about Sattayabanphot's desire or ability, it was erased that afternoon.
"I'm not surprised at all that she won," said Bastel, the Tour's 2007 Player of the Year. "In Decatur, she played with the lead for most of the final round. I knew she'd be able to seal the deal today."
The former Boilermaker not only earned her first title, but did it during the Tour's final tournament and during a week when emotions ran high as players made their last stab at the season money list to earn the five 2008 LPGA Tour cards. Two storm suspensions on Sunday added to the frayed nerves, with the first suspension lasting two hours and 32 minutes, followed by a second delay for 27 minutes. Thunder began rumbling again right after Sattayabanphot's final putt found the bottom of the cup on the 18th hole. The day was a soggy endurance test often exacerbated by the anxiety of the culminating week.
While heavy rain, soggy turf and eventually being chased to the clubhouse twice by lightning was disruptive enough, Sattayabanphot wasn't rocked by the elements. She was more rocked by a pair of three-putts that caused her to give up three shots on two holes on her back nine. The former Boilermaker grabbed a share of the lead after frontrunners Kim Welch (76) of Sacramento and Ji Min Jeong (79) of Kyungki, Korea fell off pace on the front.
With Welch and Jeong slipping down the leaderboard, Sattayabanphot birdied the first hole from 15 feet and took the lead on the seventh hole with a 25-foot birdie.
But a double-bogey on the 10th hole and a bogey on the 11th - both the result of three-putt greens - made Sattayabanphot wonder if she had what it takes to win. She was unable to muster another birdie on the back and scrambled to get up and down for par on the 10th hole.
The only player still challenging for the trophy was Fouch. But when the two-time 2007 winner missed a tricky three-footer for par on the 18th hole, the door swung wide open for Sattayabanphot. It was her tournament to win or lose. Fouch could only wait for three groups as Sattayabanphot made her way to the last hole. Sattayabanphot parred the par-3 18th hole for a final round 72 and the tournament championship.