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Caddie 'slap' helps Jeeravivitaporn close out Women's Western Am
Taglao Jeeravivitaporn (Women's Western Amateur photo)
Taglao Jeeravivitaporn (Women's Western Amateur photo)

On the 17th hole of the championship match of the 122nd Women’s Western Amateur Championship, Taglao Jeeravivitaporn’s caddie Warda Amira Rawof slapped her on the arm – hard.

Jeeravivitaporn stared at her Iowa State teammate in surprise, but she should have seen it coming. The playful gesture was part of strategy to stay loose that helped the 22-year-old defeat Annabelle Pancake, of Zionsville, Indiana, 2 and 1 at Sunset Ridge Country Club on Saturday to claim the W.A. Alexander Cup.

“She did a lot of entertaining,” Jeeravivitaporn said of Rawof, who missed the cut but stayed to caddie after Jeeravivitaporn’s boyfriend had to leave for a trip on Friday. “Talked about everything except for golf. That is my secret.”

As the duo walked up to the par-3 17th green with Jeeravivitaporn – or JJ – holding a 1-up lead, Rawof teased her about not being able to hold hands with her boyfriend, which she often does on the golf course. When Jeeravivitaporn responded by jokingly grabbing for Rawof’s hand, the resulting slap echoed through the trees.

Minutes later, Jeeravivitaporn calmly poured in a 10-foot birdie putt to end the championship match.

“I tried to make it like any other round I have with JJ,” Rawof said. “With me and her we’re always vibing really well. We’re always joking. We always forget we’re in a tournament.

“I told her I think that slap made that putt go in.”

Jeeravivitaporn was 3 down through six holes but got back within reach when Pancake made bogeys on Nos. 9 and 11. She said she tried to be more patient on the greens and didn’t pay attention to what Pancake was doing. Jeeravivitaporn tied the match with a birdie on the 360-yard, par-4 12th hole, then took her first lead with a par on the 168-yard, par-3 15th.

She became the third player from Thailand to win the Women’s Western Amateur, joining 13-time LPGA Tour winner Ariya Jutanugarn – who beat her sister Moriya Jutanugarn in 2012 at Monroe Golf & Country Club in Monroe, Michigan – and Chakansim Khamborn, who won in 2015 at Nashville Golf & Athletic Club. Jeeravivitaporn also joined past champions like Patty Berg, Louise Suggs, Nancy Lopez, Cristie Kerr, Brittany Lang and Stacy Lewis.

Pancake bogeyed her final hole Wednesday to fall to 9-over par and into a nine-player playoff for the final three spots in match play. She survived the playoff only to find herself 3 down through five holes of her Round of 32 match against medalist Sadie Englemann (Stanford), of Austin, Texas.

The 20-year-old rising senior at Clemson kept reminding herself to be patient, and eventually, it paid off. She started with a rally to defeat Englemann, 2 and 1. Then she tore through the match play bracket, dispatching Casey Weidenfeld (Auburn), of Pembroke Pines, Florida, 6 and 4; Chloe Schiavone (Notre Dame), of Jacksonville, Florida, 5 and 3; and Brooke Biermann (Michigan State), of Wildwood, Missouri, 3 and 1.

That set up a showdown with Jeeravivitaporn.

“Knowing that I can come from the 32 seed to be in the final match against one of the top players in the tournament, I think, is huge for me,” Pancake said. “It’s a big confidence booster, too. I can move ahead knowing that I can do this and I can get even better.”

Both Jeeravivitaporn and Pancake have qualified to play in the 2022 U.S. Women’s Amateur at Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington, on Aug. 8-14.

Held without interruption since its inception in 1901, the Women’s Western Amateur is among the oldest and most prestigious annual championships in women’s amateur golf. The tournament is conducted jointly by the Women’s Western Golf Association and the Western Golf Association.

Results: Women's Western Amateur
WinThailandTaglao JeeravivitapornThailand700
Runner-upINAnnabelle PancakeZionsville, IN500
SemifinalsMOBrooke BiermannWildwood, MO400
SemifinalsPhilippinesRianne Mikhaela MalixiPhilippines400
QuarterfinalsFLChloe SchiavoneJacksonville, FL300

View full results for Women's Western Amateur

ABOUT THE Women's Western Amateur

The The Western Golf Association (WGA) has partnered with the Women’s Western Golf Association to administer the Women’s Western Amateur. Held without interruption since 1901, this event is one of the oldest annual championships in women’s amateur golf. The list of past champions includes current stars and legends of the LPGA TOUR, including Ariya Jutanugarn (2012), Stacy Lewis (2006), Brittany Lang (2003), Grace Park (1998), Cristie Kerr (1995) and Nancy Lopez (1976).

The Women's Western Amateur is open to amateur women who have an up-to-date 18-hole handicap index that does not exceed 5.4 under the World Handicap System. The WWGA Committee limits the field to a maximum of 120 contestants.

The championship begins with 36 holes of stroke- play qualifying, after which the field is cut to the low 32 players for match play. In the event of a tie for the 32nd position, a sudden-elimination playoff will determine the final match play qualifiers. Five rounds of 18-hole matches will decide the Women's Western Amateur champion.

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