Patty wins LPGA Rookie of Year award

Patty wins LPGA Rookie of Year award

Patty Tavatanakit
Patty Tavatanakit

DAYTONA BEACH: Thailand's Patty Tavatanakit won the 2021 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award, the LPGA announced on Monday.

Patty, who won the ANA Inspiration, clinched the honour following the completion of the BMW Ladies Championship at the weekend.

The 22-year-old, whose Thai name is Paphangkorn, has earned 1,134 points through 17 events, and holds a 355-point advantage over second-placed Leona Maguire with two tournaments remaining in the 2021 season.

Maguire, who needed at least a sixth-place finish at the BWM Championship, finished in a tie for 61st place to clinch the honour for the idle Patty.

"Earning this award is a dream come true for me," Patty said.

"It's once in a lifetime. I'm so thrilled that I get to add my name to a spectacular list of recipients that I have looked up to for many years. This season has been one to remember, and I'm excited to finish 2021 strong as the tour's newest Rookie of the Year."

Patty won the ANA Inspiration in April, becoming the first LPGA Tour rookie to win the major title since Juli Inkster accomplished the feat in 1984. She also has eight top-10 finishes on her resume.

She is the second player from Thailand to capture the honour, following Moriya Jutanugarn in 2013.

Lee6 Jeong-Eun of South Korea won the award in 2019. The award was not distributed in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Patty became a 2021 LPGA Tour rookie after finishing second on the Symetra Tour's 2019 Race for the Card, where she won three times and earned Rookie of the Year award.

Following the British Women's Open, Patty also clinched the Rolex Annika Major Award based on her results at all five major championships.

In August, she represented Thailand at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, finishing in a tie for 23rd.

With two events left in the 2021 season, Patty ranks in the top 10 in many statistical categories on the tour, including sand saves (No.3, 60 percent), rounds under par (No.6, 41), average driving distance (No.7, 275.49) and scoring average (No.10, 70.02).

She is fourth on the Race to the CME points list (2,208 points) and seventh on the 2021 official money list (US$1,322,827).

The Thai is also third in the Rolex Player of the Year standings with 121 points.

Prior to joining the Symetra and LPGA Tours, Tavatanakit was a seven-time winner and two-time WGCA first-team All-American at UCLA.

She was also the WGCA and Pac-12 Freshmen of the Year in 2018.

She turned professional in 2019 after two seasons of collegiate golf.

Patty will receive the Rookie of the Year award at the 2021 Rolex LPGA Awards ceremony on Nov 18, 2021 at Tiburon Golf Club during the week of the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.

Meanwhile, Collin Morikawa of the US reached a new career high by passing compatriot Dustin Johnson for No.2 in the world rankings on Monday.

Morikawa, 24, now has 8.4710 average points, topping Johnson's 8.3777.

Jon Rahm of Spain remains No.1. AGENCIES

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