Tour rookie Patty Tavatanakit has held off a charge from former world No.1 Lydia Ko to take the first major of the LPGA season, the ANA Inspiration.
Five strokes clear of her nearest challenger entering the final day, Tavatanakit chipped-in for eagle on the par-5 second on her way to a 4-under 68 in the heat at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California.
The Thai finished at 18-under 270 to claim a two-stroke win over Ko, who matched Lorena Ochoa’s tournament record with a 62.
Nelly Korda (66), Sei Young Kim (66) and Nanna Koerstz Madsen (66) and Shanshan Feng (69) tied for third at 11-under.
Top-ranked Jin Young Ko (68) and world No.2 Inbee Park (69) sat alongside Ally Ewing (71) in a tie for seventh at 10-under.
The Australian contingent was led by major winner Hannah Green (69), who shared 14th at 7-under, a shot better off than young gun Gabriella Ruffels (71) while Minjee Lee carded a 67 to get to 5-under.
Ko, shot 7-under 29 on the front nine for the best nine-hole score in event’s 50-year history, had to be content with a 10-under round.
The New Zealander began the day tied for seventh at 6-under, eight strokes behind Tavatanakit in the tournament played without spectators for the second time in seven months.
Winless since April 2018, the 23-year-old Ko played the first 11 holes in 9-under and added a birdie on the par-4 15th.
Tavatanakit had a series of late par saves to keep her two-stroke lead.
Her 8-footer on the par-4 15th circled the cup and dropped in, she lagged a 45-footer to 2 feet on the par-4 16th, and chipped to inches on the par-3 17th after missing the green left.
The 21-year-old Tavatanakit wrapped up the wire-to-wire victory with a short par putt on the 18th.
A day after matching the tournament 54-hole record of 14 under set by Pernilla Lindberg in her 2018 victory, Tavatanakit finished a stroke off Dottie Pepper’s 72-hole mark of 19-under set in 1999.
Ranked 103rd in the world going into the event, Tavatanakit is the the first rookie to win the event since Juli Inkster in 1984 and the fourth straight first-time major winner.