Thailand’s conveyer belt of golf talent churned out yet another Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour winner in teenager Chanettee Wannasaen, who claimed the Portland Classic title in impressive fashion on Sunday.
The 19-year-old from Chiangmai signed in rounds of 68, 66, 65 and 63 at Columbia Edgewater Country Club for a tournament record total of 26-under-par 262, outpacing
nearest challenger Xiyu Lin of China by four shots.
Wannasaen’s victory made her just the third Monday qualifier to win on the LPGA Tour,
joining Canada’s Brooke Henderson who achieved the same feat at this event in 2015, and
American Laurel Kean at the State Farm Classic in 2000.
Entering the final round one shot behind leader Megan Khang of the United States,
Wannasaen seized control of the tournament with a spectacular five-hole stretch from the
third where she made four birdies and an eagle.
The Thai was never really challenged from there and chalked up three more birdies coming in for a comfortable victory worth USD225,000.
“I’ve been waiting for the win for so long. I knew that I could do it and the results were not
what I expected earlier in the year. This week I had a lot of belief that I can do it. Even when I missed a shot or made a mistake, I knew that I could fight back and do better.
Basically, I just believed in myself a lot more,” said Wannasaen, who is the seventh Thai player to ever win on the LPGA Tour.
Prior to the Portland victory, Wannasaen had won three times since turning professional in
2021 with two titles on the Thai LPGA Tour and one on the Ladies European Tour Access
Series. She had come close to claiming her first win on American soil a week earlier at the
Epson Tour’s Circling Raven Championship, losing a playoff to China’s Yue Ren in Idaho.
The Epson Tour is the official qualifying circuit for the LPGA Tour.
Wannasaen noted that the playoff experience at Circling Raven Golf Club helped bolster her
confidence, having previously only made the cut twice in 11 starts on this year’s LPGA Tour.
“Last week really gave me confidence, and so I just carried on and built on that. You know,
take that confidence with me this week,” said Wannasaen.
China’s Ruoning Yin, who won the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship for her first Major
title earlier this year, Spain’s Carlota Ciganda and American Gina Kim tied for third on 20-
Last week’s CPKC Women’s Open champion Khang settled for solo sixth one shot
further back after a disappointing closing 71.
Malaysia’s Kelly Tan had earlier missed the halfway cut of four-under-par following rounds
of 74 and 71.
Wannasaen is the 2023 LPGA Tour’s 10th Rolex First-Time Winner, joining Yin (DIO Implant
LA Open), Lilia Vu (Honda LPGA Thailand), Grace Kim (LOTTE Championship), Rose Zhang
(Mizuho Americas Open), Allisen Corpuz (U.S. Women’s Open), Linn Grant (Dana Open),
Elizabeth Szokol (Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational), Alexa Pano (ISPS Handa World
Invitational) and Megan Khang (CPKC Women’s Open).
She is also the second Thai player to win this year, following Pajaree Anannarukarn at the Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play presented by MGM Rewards.
The LPGA Tour will make a long-awaited return to Malaysia this October 26-29 when the
USD3 million Maybank Championship tees off at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club.
Results (Top 10 and ties)
262 (-26) Chanettee Wannasaen (THA) 68-66-65-63
266 (-22) Xiyu Lin (CHN) 71-65-66-64
268 (-20) Ruoning Yin (CHN) 70-64-68-66
Gina Kim (USA) 64-70-68-66
Carlota Ciganda (ESP) 68-67-66-67
269 (-19) Megan Khang (USA) 66-66-66-71
270 (-18) Ariya Jutanugarn (THA) 68-68-68-66
Linn Grant (SWE) 65-66-72-67
Atthaya Thitikul (THA) 70-65-67-68
271 (-17) Andrea Lee (USA) 66-71-68-66
Hyo Joon Jang (KOR) 69-68-62-72