Major pressure: Contenders combine for shank, water ball at Chevron’s final hole


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Atthaya Thitikul typically isn’t a scoreboard watcher, but she knew exactly where she stood with just one hole to play Sunday at the Chevron Championship.

When she stepped on the tee box at Carlton Woods’ par-5 finishing hole, the 20-year-old Thai was tied with clubhouse leader Lilia Vu at 10 under and just one shot back of Angel Yin, who still had a few holes to play on a major-championship layout. Thitikul’s playing competitor, A Lim Kim, was at 8 under and an eagle away from getting into a potential playoff. Of course, a Thitikul birdie would eliminate both Vu and Kim.

None of that happened.

And what did happen, well, it was difficult to watch.

Both players hit good drives in the fairway and left themselves with chances to go for the green in two shots. Kim was first to hit her second, and she caught mostly hosel. The untimely shank ruined Kim’s eagle bid. She’d settle for par.

Next up was Thitikul. She hit it cleaner than Kim, but the final result was worse. Just failing to clear the large lake guarding the front of the green, her ball was rinsed along with her hopes of victory.

“I know I have a chance to make a birdie, and then I trying to make it happen,” Thitikul said afterward. “But just maybe some misunderstanding with the wind, the number that I played, and that’s it. I think I hit it pretty good, like not behind the ball. I hit it pretty solid, but it just went like that because maybe misunderstanding with the wind.”

Full-field scores from The Chevron Championship

Thitikul ended up carding double bogey to finish T-4 at 8 under. It was her fourth straight top-8 finish in a major.

Though she continues to chase that moment when she sees her name atop a major leaderboard at the end.

“I think I have been doing well with the pressure more and more,” Thitikul said. “I think it’s a good thing for me. It’s nice to be under pressure. Everyone has to go through this when you’re going to go for the win or for the trophy.”

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