The winners this week on tour - Lydia Ko, Viktor Hovland and Thomas Pieters with Atthaya Thitikul securing the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit
Lydia Ko wins second tour title of 2021
New Zealand’s Lydia Ko fired a final round of 65 to triumph by five shots at the Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by Public Investment Fund. This was her second win of 2021, after she secured the LOTTE Championship in Hawaii in April.
Ko, who is seventh in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, began the day on 16-under-par and started well with a birdie on the first.
The two-time Major winner continued her fine form with birdies at five and seven before she sank an eagle putt on the par-five ninth to make the turn in 31 (-5).
Another birdie on the 10th gave Ko a six-shot lead and she rolled in her final birdie on the 13th to post a winning total of 23-under-par.
Talking about her final round, she said:
“When I was out there, I was just trying to play the best golf that I can. I knew a lot of the top names were playing really well and this is a golf course where there’s a fair amount of birdies, so I was just trying to have my fair share of them and have fun out there.
“It helps when you’re going into the final round with a four-shot cushion, you could shoot the same score as others, but you have those shots from the last three days.”
A great week for LET stars
Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul rounded off another successful week on Tour with a second-place finish after a final round of 66 (-6).
The four-time LET winner said:
“I just did my best out there today with every single shot, but Lydia was absolutely brilliant.
“I learned a lot from her today, Lydia Ko has one of the best short games ever, her putting was brilliant, and every approach shot she played this week, I can definitely learn to get better from her."
Tied for third place on 13-under-par was Spaniard Carlota Ciganda and England’s Alice Hewson, who shot rounds of 68 and 69, respectively.
Three-time Solheim Cup winner Ciganda said:
“I think it’s been a great week; I love the course and it’s been a great setup for us. I played very solidly, I hit a lot of fairways and greens, I didn’t make as many putts as I would have liked to - some weeks they go in some weeks they don’t. I’m happy with the week - Lydia and Atthaya played amazing so hats off to them.”
It was a rollercoaster round for Hewson, who made the turn in 37 (+1) after two birdies, a bogey and a double bogey. But the 2020 Investec SA Women’s Open champion bounced back once again with four birdies on the back nine. She said:
“I’ve had a really great week, I struggled a bit off the tee in the first few days but had a good debrief session with my coach on the range to straighten things out a bit, so overall it was positive.”
Atthaya Thitikul clinches the 2021 Race to Costa del Sol crown
As a result of finishing second, Thitikul has an unassailable lead in the 2021 Race to Costa del Sol with 3,264.46 points to her name, with two events remaining on the LET calendar.
Therefore, the Thai star has clinched the crown for the 2021 season and in the process becomes the youngest ever winner of the title.
“It’s an honour and it’s a really amazing feeling to win the Race to Costa del Sol this year in my rookie season as well, words can’t really describe it.”
Atthaya also joins Dame Laura Davies, Carlota Ciganda & Esther Henseleit as the fourth player to win the OOM & Rookie of the Year titles in the same season.
A ninth-place finish for Finland’s Sanna Nuutinen, in Saudi Arabia, puts her on 1,570.27 points with Stephanie Kyriacou just behind on 1,562.74 points.
Slovenia’s Pia Babnik is fourth (1,409.89) with Norway’s Marianne Skarpnord in fifth (1,267.81) and Cowan moves up to sixth (1,209.68) after her fifth-place finish.
Viktor Hovland defends Mayakoba title
Following his first win on the European Tour in June, Ryder Cup star Viktor Hovland defended his World Wide Technology Championship title at Mayakoba, Mexico, with a closing round of 67 to win by four shots from Carlos Ortiz.
This was the 24-year-old Norwegian’s third PGA Tour title and was the first player to defend the World Wide Technology Championship. On his week, he commented:
“I felt like my game was in a good spot going into this week and I knew this course fit me really well, so I was coming in with some high expectations, but obviously for it to end like this and win by four shots, it's been a cool week. Couldn't ask for it to go any different.”
And when asked about how the two wins compared, he said:
“I would say I probably putted better throughout the whole week this year. I feel like I still hit the ball really, really well last year, but my short game was still not as sharp. I missed a few too many putts on the first two days, but over the weekend I just got really, really hot. I felt like, just as a performance throughout the week, I played just steadily better golf. It's hard to kind of compare it because last year was a special one as well.”
This week the PGA Tour will be in Houston at the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Houston Open.
Fifth European Tour title for Thomas Pieters
Thomas Pieters was back in the winner’s circle after over two years after winning the Portugal Masters in Vilamoura by two shots at 19-under-par.
The 29-year-old held off joint overnight leader Matthieu Pavon and Danish duo Lucas Bjerregaard and Nicolai Hojgaard with a final round 68.
The Belgian claims his first win since the 2019 D+D Real Czech Masters and moves back into the top 100 on the Official World Golf Ranking in the process.
"It feels amazing. It felt like a long time between victories but (caddie) Adam and I worked so hard and it felt like a deserved one.
"Two years is a long time. I’ve had a child in the meantime, who talks and runs around, it does feel like a long time.
"I was going into this week and next week with my back to the wall. I had nothing to lose but everything to gain. I’ve never missed the end of the Race to Dubai and really didn’t want to miss it. I didn’t care if I finished first, second or third. I just wanted to get there, but winning is amazing."
Only two tournaments remain in the European Tour 2021 season, this week they move to Dubai and the AVIV Dubai Championship on the Fire Course at Jumeriah Golf Estates.
Which other tours would you like us to report on? Drop us an email with your request here.