Avani finishes 28th as Thai golfer Galitsky wins WAAP title -

Avani finishes 28th as Thai golfer Galitsky wins WAAP title

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SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE – MARCH 09: Avani Prashanth of India putts during Day One of The Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship on The New Course at The Singapore Island Country Club on March 09, 2023 in Singapore. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/R&A/R&A via Getty Images).

Khel Today Bureau 

Singapore: Avani Prashanth finished tied 28th even as Thailand’s

Eila Galitsky won the fifth Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific (WAAP) championship in commanding manner to earn some major rewards from the premier tournament.

India’s other player to make the cut, Nishna Patel (75) was tied 35th.

Galitsky shot a four-under par 68 in the final round at Singapore Island Country Club, giving her a four-day aggregate of 14-under par 274 and a five-shot win over Korea’s Minsol Kim (70).

The 16-year-old becomes the second Thai Atthaya Thitikul, to win the championship. Atthaya won in 2018 in Singapore and rose to number one in World rankings last year.

SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE – MARCH 12: Eila Galitsky of Thailand poses with The Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship trophy after victory during Day Four of The Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship on The New Course at The Singapore Island Country Club on March 12, 2023 in Singapore. (Photo by Andrew Redington/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)

Galitsky closed with three birdies in her last four holes as she played solid and steady through the final day. She made the turn at one-under par with a birdie on the sixth hole. Her only dropped shot came when she shockingly missed a one-footer par putt on the 14th hole, but then bounced back in incredible fashion with birdies on 15th and 16th.

Kim, ranked number 14 in the world, was bidding to become the first player from Korea to win the WAAP title. However, despite giving herself several birdie opportunities, her putter remained cold.

As the 2023 WAAP champion, Galitsky earns dream starts in three major championships – the AIG Women’s Open, The Amundi Evian Championship and The Chevron Championship – as well as the Hana Financial Group Championship, ISPS Handa Australian Open, The 120th Women’s Amateur Championship and an invitation to play in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur (ANWA) later this month.

Korea’s Yeji Park (70), Japan’s Yuna Araki (72), the second-highest ranked player in the championship at number five, New Zealand’s Fiona Xu (71) and Sophie Han (71) of Hong Kong, China, were tied for the third place at six-under par 282.

Galitsky, who also holds a Canadian passport, was ahead by four going into the back nine of the championship Sunday. Her win was never in doubt.

“I never thought about winning until I made that first putt on the 18th hole. I was very nervous going into the final round. I did not sleep well and woke up at 4:30am,” said the Thai star, who revealed a text message from compatriot Natthakritta Vongtaveelap, who finished runner-up the last two years and is now playing on the LPGA, helped her relax and be better prepared for the final round.

“I did not expect this to happen at the beginning of the week. I played my first practice round here and lost five balls that day. At that point, I was thinking making the cut would be a good result.

“Honestly, I set a goal for myself today. I was going to play five-under par.  I was one short of it. The reason I was aimed for five-under par was because my four-day record was 14-under par. I was just trying to break that record today.”

Galitsky was looking forward to enjoy the rewards of her win, especially a chance to play the AIG Women’s Open at Walton Heath (10-13 August).

“Honestly, I am just trying to enjoy every single moment of it.  What an opportunity I’ve got.  I just need to try to savour every moment,” said Galitsky.

“I am looking forward to playing the AIG Women’s Open, as I feel like it is the championship for women’s golf.  Honestly, any major would be great, but I just really like that one.”

Kim finally made a putt and a birdie on the 16th hole, and followed it up with another on the 17th. She was three ahead of the pack in third place at the stage and tried to set up an eagle on the 18th hole in the hope of putting some pressure on the leader. However, her second shot rolled through the green and into the water hazard.

Chinese Taipei’s Ting-Hsuan Huang (70), winner of the championship last year, finished in solo ninth place in her title defence, while Japan’s Rin Yoshida, the highest-ranked player in the field at number four, shot a three-over par 75 to be tied for 28th place at five-over par 293.

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