SHANGHAI, June 4 (Xinhua) -- Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong posted a wire-to-wire victory during third round play at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Championship on Sunday, as the Thai veteran battled through windy conditions to win by one stroke in Shanghai.
After leading by a single stroke going into the final round at the Lanhai International Golf Club Yangtze Dune layout, the 26-year-old Bueng Kan native closed with an even-par 72 to claim the winner's prize and move to the top of the China LPGA Tour Order of Merit. Sherman finished the tournament with a 54-hole score of five-under 211.
Fellow Thai Supamas Sangchan (70) finished second, a shot ahead of China's Shi Yuli (72). Aunchisa Utama (70) added to the strong Thai showing in finishing equal fourth with Chinese amateur Cao Xinyu (75) four strokes off the pace.
With the wind blowing at its strongest during the final round of the tournament, Sherman got off to a difficult start when she carded back-to-back bogeys starting from the third hole. She then picked up birdies at the sixth and eighth holes to make the turn at even par.
The back nine saw Sherman survive an erratic finish featuring two more birdies, including a key birdie on the penultimate hole to get to six-under, followed by a bogey five at the last.
"After the second round I talked to my dad. He was in the temple and I told him 'pray for me' and if I win I will make the drive back to Bueng Kan. It's about 12 to 13 hours northeast of Bangkok, so I'll have a long drive ahead of me once I get back to Thailand. But I am very happy to get my first win in China," said Sherman, who played regularly on the US LPGA Tour from 2017 to 2019.
It was a win that nearly didn't happen as a hard-charging Supamas carded four birdies over the Yangtze Dunes back nine, including a 25-foot chip-in on the last, to get close. Her round also included two bogeys on the front nine.
"I was reading the speed and lies a lot better on the back nine. My putter was working and the combination with that resulted in a good finish," said Supamas, a two-time winner on the CLPGA Tour. "I'm happy with the result as I didn't know the scores. I just tried to do my best and finish strongly. No disappointment."
For Shi, the disappointment was evident as the Beijing native struggled with her putter throughout the tournament in carding six three-putts over the three days. Her final round included five birdies that were offset by five bogeys.
"Long putts were troublesome and always over the holes I had some bad breaks. I watched the leaderboard off the last tee knowing I was just one shot behind. I attempted to be aggressive, but I didn't make it. I hit into the bunker off the tee and had to lay up," she said. "But I also had a good birdie at the 17th hole. I hit a good shot from a terrible lie in the rough and made a tricky five-foot birdie putt."