Anannarukarn Beats Furue To Win Match Play Title In Vegas

The Thai takes the cash in the desert after finishing the marathon event with victory over her Japanese opponent

Anannarukarn wins match play
Anannarukarn celebrates after winning the championship match
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Pajaree Anannarukarn of Thailand signed off the longest week on the LPGA Tour with a 3&1 victory over Ayaka Furue of Japan on Sunday to win the Bank of Hope LPGA Match Play in Las Vegas.

For a split second, it looked as though the match would go down 18, when Furue hit the left side of the hole with her bunker shot on the penultimate hole. However, the ball failed to drop and, with her opponent in close, the match was conceded.

“Match Play is taking a lot of energy throughout the week,” said Anannarukarn, after her seventh match in five days. “I'm really soaking it in right now. It's been a great week, and I'm grateful for everything.”

For Anannarukarn, the first Thai winner on the LPGA Tour this season, this was victory number two, and her first since the ISPS Handa World Invitational in Northern Ireland in 2021, a tournament co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour.

Anannarukarn lifts trophy

This was LPGA Tour title number two for Anannarukarn 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It wasn’t all plain sailing for the 23-year-old. In her match with Karis Davidson of Australia, and after losing the 18th to set up a playoff, she found herself in a divot in the first cut. Somehow, though, she managed to gouge the ball out and make par. 

Then, after disposing of Solheim Cup stalwart Carlota Ciganda and Cheyenne Knight of the United States in the quarter finals, Anannarukarn found top gear, reeling off eight birdies against Linn Grant in her last four tie on a fast and firm Shadow Creek.

Furue took out Leona Maguire of Ireland in her semi final, but despite taking an early lead, she found her opponent too hot to handle in the championship match.

Anannarukarn looked to have taken control when she won the 12th with a short birdie to go 2 up, only for Furue to fight back with a long iron to two feet for a conceded birdie on the next hole.

However, the Thai bounced straight back with a birdie of her own on 14, before delivering a laser of an iron to six feet on the 17th, which proved to be the killer blow.

“The wind picked up a lot. I think I used up all my birdies,” added a jubilant Anannarukarn. “I really tried hard. I missed a couple of putts, I shanked one out of the bunker. It's golf, and I really tried. I'm glad I was able to play decent enough.”

Michael Weston
Contributing editor

Michael has been with Golf Monthly since 2008. As a multimedia journalist, he has also worked for The Football Association, where he created content to support the men's European Championships, The FA Cup, London 2012, and FA Women's Super League. As content editor at Foremost Golf, Michael worked closely with golf's biggest equipment manufacturers, and has developed an in-depth knowledge of this side of the industry. He's now a regular contributor, covering instruction, equipment and feature content. Michael has interviewed many of the game's biggest stars, including six world number ones, and has attended and reported on many Major Championships and Ryder Cups. He's a member of Formby Golf Club.