5 Things: Phatlum wins LPGA's Brazil Cup
Pornanong Phatlum had a couple of aggressive pursuers Sunday in the second and final round of the LPGA tour’s Brazil Cup. Phatlum, however, held her ground for her first career LPGA victory as Amy Hung and Paula Creamer fell short. Here are 5 Things to know from the two-day exhibition at Itanhanga Golf Club in Rio de Janeiro:
1. Thanks, bro: The Brazil Cup may be an unofficial event on the LPGA tour schedule, but winning still is a major accomplishment for 22-year-old Phatlum.
“I’m so excited today,” she said. “I play really well today and I played my own game. I’m just very happy.”
Phatlum, who now has three top-20 finishes this season after five in 2011, got a little help from her brother at the two-day event as Pornpong picked up his sister’s bag. He certainly was qualified for the job as he’s played on various professional tours in Asia. Having him around, Pornanong said, helped keep her keep a cool head.
“He helped me to concentrate,” she said. “He helped me to focus on my game and kept me in the round.”
Phatlum took a share of the lead with Karine Icher after an opening-round 66. Icher became a non-factor on Sunday with an even-par 73. Phatlum’s main concern came from Amy Hung, who shot 8-under 65.
“My wedges and my putting were very good today,” Hung said. “Inside 100 yards, I gave myself putts of 3 feet or 4 feet and I was making all of them.”
Phatlum, however, closed with bogey-free 67 to finish at 13-under 133, four shots ahead of Hung.
2. First impressions: This week marked Paula Creamer’s first trip to Brazil, and she enjoyed it so much she plans to come back. Rio de Janeiro now is practically synonomous with the 2016 Olympics, which Creamer thinks would make for an excellent return trip.
“I got to do a lot of things that you don’t normally get to do at golf tournaments,” she said of the week. “Just being able to see the culture. This is my first time in South America so it’s nice to be able to see a different country and everybody has been really nice, really wonderful here. I’m really looking forward to the Olympics and hopefully I’ll be able to come and represent my country.”
Creamer finished third with back-to-back rounds of 69, and said she made enough birdies to win the tournament -- but too many bogies got in the way. Still, a top 3 in the best finish for Creamer in eight starts this season.
3. Blue Devils in Brazil: Former Duke stars Brittany Lang and Amanda Blumenherst claimed prime real estate on the leaderboard as they both shot 7-under 139 to finish in a five-way tie for fifth.
Duke golf also is trending back home as the Blue Devils, fresh off an ACC Championship title, head to State College, Pa., this week for NCAA Regionals.
4. Keep an eye on... Victoria Tanco. The 18-year-old rookie from Argentina finished T-17 after rounds of 71-73. It’s the best finish in six starts for Tanco (and only the second made cut), whose illustrious junior career ended last December when she finished T-15 at LPGA Q-School to immediately earn her card. Earlier in the summer, Tanco also had won the Women’s Western Amateur and made the cut at U.S. Women’s Open for the first time in four tries.
5. Do as the locals do: After Saturday’s first round, Suzann Pettersen, Beatriz Recari and Annika Sorenstam joined a game of pick-up beach volleyball outside a Rio hotel. Not bad for post-round de-stressing, unless of course you were on the losing team. Tweeted by Pettersen later: A solid 5 under par today. Played some beach volley after and my team lost! Don’t like that! Good laugh though”