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US Women’s Open – Thai Star Resets Her Goals

Major Champion Patty Tavatanakit looks to climb world rankings

 

Patty Tavatanakit is looking to add US Women's Open Championship to her "major" collection

After winning the ANA Championship earlier this season, one could be forgiven for thinking that Patty Tavatanakit would have been content to rest on her early season accomplishment. Despite still being an LPGA rookie this season, Tavatanakit is not satisfied to rest on her major victory at the ANA.


“I have reset my goals a little bit, still focusing on my process on the course. It’s a mental ride for sure. You’ve got to be tough each week. There are going to be weeks where you’re not feeling it, so you’ve got to grind your way through. (As for her new targets) If anything, I’d like to climb up that world ranking a little bit more, as far up as I can. Not particularly trying to get to No.1 this year because I know its going to take a while and I’ve got to be patient with the process.”


Tavatanakit entered the US Women’s Open week sitting as the 10th ranked player in the world. Going into the ANA Inspiration at the end of March, Tavatanakit was ranked at 103rd worldwide. Winning the major championship saw her world ranking skyrocket, going all the up to 13th, a historical high for the Thai rookie. Two third-place finishes (shared) in Singapore and her native Thailand saw her climb even further, up to 11th. Finishing the Match Play event last week in Las Vegas in a share of 5th place, elevated her to 10th, cracking the top Ten for the first time in her professional career.


It’s been a meteoric rise for her, but she doesn’t appear overly fazed by it, having learned to deal with her rising status in women’s golf. “I feel like I struggled a little bit in L.A. with just how much attention I’m receiving from a lot of people, and I wasn’t really used to it. If anything, I just like when people don’t recognize me as much or just kind of leave me alone . . . but, I’ve learned how to kind of like be t here or not be there with a lot of attention I got. I’m still learning and I’m still adjusting this whole thing, but still it’s an honour getting everyone’s attention to be a major champion.”


Olympic Club

The famed Lake Course at Olympic Club has hosted 5 – US Open’s previously, with a history of playing difficult for the best players in the world. The combined score of all Five winners is a mere -5 under par. With tough scoring conditions like that, elite players in women’s professional golf will have a challenge ahead of them as the narrow fairways with the typical “U.S. Open” style rough, and small, elevated greens to test their course management and shotmaking abilities.


Tavatanakit averaged 300 plus yards in Driving at the ANA Championship.
Driving played a big part in Tavatanakit's victory in the season's first major
"I think this course sets up pretty fair given how tough it is. I don’t think this course is long, but its going to be long.”


 

In winning the ANA Championship, Tavatanakit averaged over 300 yards with her driving, relying on her prodigious length off of the tee to put her ball into positions, allowing her to attack the greens with lofted clubs and high trajectory shots that land steeply and softly on the greens. When she got herself into a little bit of trouble off the tee or from greenside bunkers, she managed to limit the damage, making plenty of pars along the way. She will need to summon all of her skill if she is going to contend at Olympic Club, but she certainly has the tools to accomplish the job.


Bunker Practice - Patty Tavatanakit hopes to avoid the bunkers as much as possible this week.
Course management will be a big part of Tavatanakit's game plan this week.


 

“I feel like the course is setting up wide and manageable. There’s a little bit of forgiveness to it . . . I think this course sets up pretty fair given how tough it is. I don’t think this course is long, but its going to be long (because of the thick rough).”


As for her course management strategy, Tavatanakit has set some goals for the week that she believes will be key to playing well and contending. “The first goal . . . is to hit as many greens as you can . . . I think that’s going to be really important – what separates the fields a lot. It’s a little tough to get up and down, especially with the rough being like this. It’s still a little bit of a guess every single time you’re in there, but you’ve got to work your way around it.”

Despite a reputation for not being set up for long hitters, Tavatanakit still believes that the set up at Olympic Club will still play to some of her strengths such as her shotmaking ability.


“Hitting different shots – I feel like where it’s just out there and you’re not only going to hit a straight one or just the same flight evert day, all day. For me, what would benefit my game the most is using all the tools I have as a player, as in hitting a low cut into it, . . . just being creative playing around these courses. . . .I’ve played a lot of tough ones, and this is something different. You’ve obviously got to be sharp, think through your shots, and try to execute no matter which shot your picking to hit.”


At the Dinah Shore course at Mission Hills, Tavatanakit executed her shots to near perfection as she led the event all four days on her way to winning. If she executes on her game plan and more importantly, on her shots, she should definitely be in contention to make it two for two in major championships this season.

 

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