Kiwi golfer Lydia Ko has failed to fire in the final round of the LPGA Tour event in Thailand, sliding down the leaderboard to finish 11th.
Coming into the day two shots off the lead, Ko birdied her second hole to move within a stroke, but that was as good as it got as she failed to hit the low-scoring heights of her first three rounds.
Ko's radar was slightly off throughout her round, with several drives landing in short rough – and one on a path – while her approach shots often left her scrambling to get up and down from off the green.
She largely did that successfully, with solid chip shots leading to par putts, though there was a blemish on the par-four sixth, and the resulting longer putt was pushed to the left of the hole.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
That put Ko four shots off the lead, and with Amy Yang starting with six birdies in seven holes, and Ariya Jutanguran birdieing eight of her first 12, it was clear Ko's steady efforts were not going be enough.
Yang finished with an eight-under 64 but that was only good enough for a share of third, while Jutanugarn produced a stunning approach on the final hole to finish with a birdie and sign for a nine-under 63 and 22-under for the tournament.
Even that seemed like it might not be enough, as 18-year-old phenom Atthaya Thitikul sat at 22-under with two holes to play, including an short par-five final hole.
Thitikul, who beat Ko's record as the youngest golfer to win a professional tournament when she won in Thailand in 2017 aged 14, had produced a flawless round, but she missed a short par putt on 17, before her similarly makeable birdie putt on the last also slid by the hole, denying her a playoff and sending Jutanugarn into tears of joy as she claimed victory at her home event, and her first since 2018.
The final hole was played after a weather delay of over an hour, which also disrupted Ko's finale, but when she returned she produced a lovely chip to finish with a birdie and ink a one-under 71.
Of the top 30 players at the end of the tournament, only one had a final round worse than Ko as she faded down the stretch, but the 24-year-old still produced another solid overall showing to further display her contention credentials.
After a busy run of events, Ko will now take three weeks off to prepare for the US Open in early June.