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Thai Ajira overturns Chinese golfers to win Shanghai Classic

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-04-01 15:51

Thai Ajira overturns Chinese golfers to win Shanghai Classic

Ajira Nualraksa of Thailand wins the Shanghai Classic of the China LPGA Tour 2013 in Shanghai, March 30, 2013. [Photo/icpress]

SHANGHAI - Thailand's Ajira Nualraksa held off Chinese amateurs Shi Yuting and Liu Yu to win the $50,000 Shanghai Classic Saturday, the first tournament of the 2013 China LPGA Tour season.

Starting the day three shots off the lead, Ajira carded a final round 69 over the Orient (Shanghai) Sports and Country Club in the sunny but windy conditions to beat second-leader Shi (73) by one stroke. Liu closed with a 73 to finish third, three shots back.

The Bangkok native finished the tournament at four-under 212 to earn 75,000 yuan (about $12,075).

Thai Ajira overturns Chinese golfers to win Shanghai Classic

Shi Yuting of China gets her second runner-up finish on the CLPGA circuit after the Chongqing game last year in the Shanghai Classic, March 30, 2013. [Photo/icpress] 

As 15-year-old Shi struggled through an erratic round that included four birdies, two doubles and a bogey, Ajira, 22, carded a bogey five on the opening hole and then played steady from there on with two birdies on both the front and back nines.

"I wanted to win," said a visibly excited Ajira following her first CLPGA Tour victory. "When I walked on the course I just concentrate on everything. But I didn't look at the amateurs or look at anybody's score, I just do my best and I made it.

"On the course I just calmed myself down. I just tell myself don't think about the future, just concentrate and think positive. Now I'm so excited, my first time (to win internationally), and the points will help to move up the world rankings."

Shi could only express her disappointment in posting her second runner-up finish on the CLPGA circuit after getting the same result in Chongqing last year. She cited poor club selection on the front nine as her downfall before coming alive on the back nine with three consecutive birdies starting at the 10th hole.

On the final hole she missed a 12-foot birdie putt that would have forced a playoff.

"That putt was very important. It was for my teacher who was my caddie this week, and for all the people who support me, root for me the whole week," said the teenager. "I want to make it but I miss. I think it is all about my green reading. I feel disappointed. When I go back to the hotel I will re-check the whole day and try to figure out what's wrong.

"Anyway, the Ningbo Challenge is next week, it's a new week. I have a new chance."

Chinese veteran Yang Taoli (76) marked her return from the Japan Tour with an equal fifth finish, tied with Thailand's Walailak Satarak (76), the first round co-leader, at seven shots off the pace.

Defending champion Rungthiwa Pangjan was equal 11th after struggling to a 79.

Next week, the Tour moves to China's Zhejiang province for the $50,000 Ningbo Challenge, on April 4-6.

The fifth year of the China LPGA Tour features 10-plus events culminating in the Hyundai China Ladies Open this December in Xiamen, Fujian province.

Thai Ajira overturns Chinese golfers to win Shanghai Classic

Liu Yu of China finishes the third in the Shanghai Classic of the China LPGA Tour 2013 in Shanghai, March 30, 2013. [Photo/icpress]

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