Mehaffey closes with final round 70 as Annannarukarn takes women’s title in dramatic circumstances and Gavins pips Horsey to the post

by Ronan MacNamara  

Olivia Mehaffey by Golffile

Olivia Mehaffey signed off on her home professional debut with a three-under-par 68 to finish on eight-under as Pajaree Annannarukarn claimed her maiden LPGA Tour victory after coming through a two-hole playoff against Emma Talley at the ISPS HANDA World Invitational.

A par on the second play-off hole was enough to see the Thailand woman to victory after a marathon final day.

Daniel Gavins burst from the pack to hijack Jordan Smith and David Horsey to win the men’s section on thirteen-under after a five-under 65.

Horsey was tied with Gavins playing the 72nd hole needing a birdie to win. Unfortunately for the four-time European Tour winner he bogeyed the par-5 18th to come up a shot short.

It capped off a dismal back nine of four-over for the 36-year-old as Gavins reigned supreme.

Gavins has taken the long route to success having come through the Europro Tour and the Challenge Tour.

“Yeah, it's amazing that every week on the European Tour is just a place you want to be. So yes, I'm just fortunate to be on it and just playing golf.

“I still can't believe it. I'm just waiting to wake up, I think, but it just feels amazing.”

Mehaffey, who produced a gallant finish to make the cut was focused on enjoying her final round today and she was thrilled with how the week went overall.

“Yeah, if I could choose any tournament to have my LPGA debut, I don't think I could pick a better one. I had my family, friends, my sponsor, so many people that mean a lot to me this week, and walking down 18 was very special for me. As debuts go, I think this was a pretty good one.”

The 23-year-old showed she is right at home at this level as she prepares to compete at LPGA Tour Q-School in the coming weeks. The Belfast native impressed her home following after a few problems earlier in the week.

“Yeah, it was really good. I had a really bad practice round on Monday and I texted my coach and I'm like, I've had the worst practice round of my life. Help me now.

“And it was just kind of mentally we worked through it, and that's why it's so nice to have such an experienced caddie. He's been on the European Tour, LPGA for so long. He really kept me calm.

“We were here on Wednesday and played a little 5-4 match, which was cool, and that's one of the unique things about this event.

“Pretty happy with it overall.”

Dermot McElroy was the best of the Irish on the men’s side after a three-under 67 lifted the 28-year-old into the top-20 on seven-under-par for the tournament.

Teenager Tom McKibbin shot a level-par 70 to remain on five-under after carding nine consecutive pars on his back nine.

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