With an eagle on the second playoff hole, Nanna Koerstz Madsen captured the 2022 Honda LPGA Thailand and became the first LPGA Tour winner from Denmark. She outlasted a hard-fought battle with China’s Xiyu Lin, draining a 10-foot putt to take the title.
“It’s amazing. It’s a dream come true,” said Koerstz Madsen, an LPGA Tour Member since 2018. “It was a crazy day; a lot of good things. It was actually fun playing the playoff with (Xiyu) at the end. I’m really excited to be standing with the trophy right now.”
Koerstz Madsen and Lin finished at -26 overall to set a new tournament scoring record, breaking the mark of -25 set by Jessica Korda in 2018.
Koerstz Madsen, who entered the day with a one-stroke lead over Lin and Celine Boutier, held a four-stroke lead over Lin through 15 holes. She dropped a shot with a bogey at No. 16 and Lin cut the deficit to two with a birdie at No. 17.
On the 72nd hole, Koerstz Madsen sent her 8-iron approach on a flier into the grandstand behind the green. She was able to take free relief but could not get up and down for par, settling instead for a closing bogey. Lin’s 5-foot birdie putt found the center of the hole and sent the two to a sudden-death playoff.
“She really fought. She finished up birdie-birdie, so she played amazing, too,” Koerstz Madsen said of Lin. “Yes, I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous there.”
On the first playoff hole, Lin executed a master chip from off the front of the green, with the ball coming to a stop right on the lip of the hole. “I just cannot believe that chip didn’t go in,” Lin said of the incredible shot. She tapped in for birdie, and Koerstz Madsen knocked in a 4-footer to match.
Lin could not help but shed a few tears following the playoff loss, coming so close to earning her first LPGA Tour victory. She made four consecutive birdies across the final two regulation holes and the two playoff holes.
“I’m very proud. Sometimes it’s just weird. You shot 26-under and then cannot win a tournament,” said Lin. “But that’s my lowest ever shot in a tournament week, and like four days of very solid golf. Like I’m going to take a lot from this.”
Playing in the final group with Koerstz Madsen and Lin, Boutier just could not keep up with their fireworks. She did come to life with her last shot, holding out for eagle from off the green at No. 18 to take solo third at -25.
“It’s all uphill and into the grain, so I just was focusing on hitting it close and just make a birdie,” said Boutier. “Then when I made contact, I knew it was like a good shot and I knew I had a chance, but having it go in is definitely a bonus.”
Danielle Kang hit a hole-in-one on No. 8, from 132 yards with a 9-iron. It was her fourth hole-in-one in competition, with all three previous aces coming in 2014.
“All I thought was like I think I’m due for a hole-out. Might as well just do it here. And then I saw it tracking and then I went, No way,” said Kang. “It landed and I was like, No way. Because normally sometimes it sits. It’s soft out here. I was like, Wait a second, it’s actually rolling. And it went, No way, and it went in and everyone screamed. We had a huge crowd. Hometown kind of favorite, Atthaya (Thitikul) was playing with us. It was really cool.”
With the ace, CME Group will donate $20,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which is leading the way in how the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and life-threatening diseases. The CME Group Cares Challenge will see a minimum guaranteed donation of $500,000 to St. Jude.