Thailand’s Kan Bunnabodee gave notice of her intention to conquer the golfing world by sweeping to victory in the 28th Singapore Ladies Amateur Open Golf Championship.
Two shots clear of the field heading into the final round of The R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking event, the teenager underlined her precocious talent with a closing two-under-par 68 over the Laguna National Golf and Country’s Club Masters Course.
That gave her a 54-hole total of three-under 207 and a three-stroke success in the Open Division from compatriot Kultida Pramphun with Malaysian Nur Durriyah Binta Damian a further shot back in third.
“I felt nervous at the start. But I improved as the round went on and I’m thrilled to win,” said Kan, who was doused in water by her team-mates after holing out for a birdie on the 18th green.
A student at the American School of Bangkok, Kan hardly played a false stroke as she stuck rigidly to a well thought out game plan en route to topping the class.
“My aim was to hit as many fairways as possible, which is why I used my three-wood to tee-off on some holes,” said Kan, who will turn 15 in the first week of April.
If her career plan is executed just as smoothly then Kan is on course to becoming a household name in women’s golf.
“My aim is to one day become the world number one,” said Kan, who is setting her sights on completing a college education in America before joining the ranks of the professionals when she’s in her early 20s.
In winning the Singapore Ladies Amateur Open, Kan is already following in the footsteps of Jennifer Rosales of the Philippines and Australian Minjee Lee. Both had their names inscribed on the Singapore trophy before going on to win on the LPGA Tour.
Kan is also taking inspiration from fellow-Thai Virada Nirapathpongporn, who won the US Women’s Amateur in 2003 and went on to play professionally at the top level.
Virada retired from competitive golf in 2011 and returned to Thailand where she now acts as coach to the country’s most promising female youngsters, including Kan and Kultida. “Virada has been a great help and support to me,” said Kan, who was followed by her coach throughout the tournament.
Although Kultida had to settle for second place, the 15-year-old was simply overjoyed to be competing in Singapore. “This is my first time out of Thailand and the first time I’ve been on a plane. It’s been an exciting week,” she said.
For Malaysian Nur Durriyah Binta Damian, it was once more a case of what might have been.
One of only a handful of players in the field to carry her bag rather than pull a trolley, Durriyah had been hoping to improve on her joint runner-up finish in last year’s Singapore Ladies Amateur Open.
However, a cold putter proved a source of frustration for Durriyah who played beautifully from tee-to-green but just couldn’t buy a putt. She had the unusual distinction of making par on all 18 holes.
Jacqueline Young signed off with a 76 to finish as the leading Singaporean on 221. She was followed by Suanne Hailey Loh (222) and Sarah Tan (224).
Goh Kui Hwa, the tournament’s Organising Chairperson, said: “We are very proud to be able to organise this championship, which has such a long and illustrious tradition. Once more we were able to attract a top field and a worthy champion emerged. We look forward to welcoming Kan back to defend her title next year … and will be watching her progress with great interest.
“Thanks to Laguna National for hosting the event on the Masters Course, which was presented in such wonderful condition. Thanks also to our sponsors, to Lyn Sen, our SLGA President, to Ross Tan, our SGA President and to all those who offered their unwavering support of this event.” – Mr. Spencer Robinson, SGA Marcom Sub Committee
For more tournament info and results, please click H E R E
For tournament photos, please click H E R E