Women’s golf is brimming with young, rising talent as another teenager has won on the LPGA in 2023.
Five players were within four shots of the lead when the final group went to the nine last Sunday at the 2023 Portland Classic, but none of them caught Chanettee Wannasaen.
The 19-year-old rookie was a Monday qualifier for this week’s event at Columbia Edgewater Country Club in Oregon but walked away with the trophy after a memorable week in the Pacific Northwest. The Wannasa shot her season-low round of 66 on Friday and went one better with a Saturday 65 before a dazzling bogey-free 9-under 63 on Sunday sealed the deal at 26 under for her first LPGA victory, the 10th player to achieve the feat this season.
The Wannasa, a native of Chiang Mai, Thailand, last won in June 2022 at the Trust Golf Links Series – Ramside Hall on the Ladies European Tour Access Series after a pair of wins earlier this year on the Thai LPGA Tour at the Singha Pattaya Ladies Open and the Thai LPGA Championship . She made the cut in her first two LPGA starts in February and March of this year at the LPGA Drive On Championship (T-57) and Honda LPGA Thailand (T-51), respectively, but hadn’t made the cut in nine starts since.
“I’m missing about nine events on the LPGA tour this year,” Wannasaen said Saturday. “It makes me more confident.”
That confidence showed on Sunday as the teenager played the final round with ease, handling the pressure with the confidence of a multi-major champion. After an even-par start, the Wannasa caught fire with a five-hole stretch of birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie on Nos. 3-7 to take a three-shot lead with nine holes to play. The Wannasa added three more birdies on the back of Nos. 13, 14 and 17 to win by four shots.
Wannasa is just the third player to qualify Monday and then win the same week on the LPGA, joining Laurel Kean at the 2000 State Farm LPGA Classic and Brooke Henderson, who also qualified Monday for the Portland Classic at Columbia Edgewater Country Club and advanced to win the event in 2015. Yealimi Noh nearly joined Kean, Noh and now Wannasaen at the 2019 Portland Classic, but the then 18-year-old blew a three-shot lead Sunday as Hannah Green went on to win by a single shot.