Although deservedly Sophia Popov the German journey woman grabbed all the headlines by winning the 2020 AIG Woman’s Open, Spare a thought for the talented Thai came runner up.
Thidapa (Jasmine) Suwannapura, had a stellar final round to finish a clear second, just two shots off a charging Popov.
Jasmine won US$467,415, elevating her to 4th on the LPGA money list, and she is sure to improve on her Rolex ranking currently at 138 in the World.
Thailand has been constantly knocking on the door at the Women’s Open. Ariya Jutanugarn won it in 2016, and many will remember when Pornanong Phatlum nearly stole the show, coming in 2nd at the 2016 event at Royal Lytham, when Georgia Hall played out of her skin to eventually win the trophy.
It was a similar scenario this week, as nobody could have stopped the charging Popov. Jasmine as she is now called on tour showed the world what a gritty player she is conquering the rain, wind and everything that Royal Troon could offer.
Jasmine was born in Bangkok but started to show an interest in golf when her Dad took her along when he used to play at Plutaluang Navy Course in Sattahip near Pattaya.
A few years later she turned up with Kiradech Aphibarnrat to launch the new Lakes course at Phoenix Gold where she also used to practice at the driving range.
Thidapa “Jasmine” Suwannapura (born 20 November 1992) graduated from Ramkhamhaeng University, she qualified for the Honda LPGA Thailand as an amateur in 2006, 2008 and 2010. She won the 2008 Hong Kong Ladies Amateur, and the 2008 Singha Pattaya Open plus the 2010 Malaysia Amateur Open and the 2010 Honda Junior Masters. She turned professional in 2011.
It has not all been plain sailing though, as Jasmine was in great pain playing alongside Shanshan Feng at the Dubai Women’s Classic, and had to conduct her press conference sitting down as her back was playing up.
Eventually, she had to have major surgery in the States and then through hard work got fitter and rejoined the LPGA Tour where she has won two tournaments.
Surprisingly, Jasmine is now the highest-ranked Thai golfer on the 2020 LPGA Money list.
Thai women’s golf is in a very strong position, with veteran Pornaong Phatlum still playing on the LPGA tour, plus the Jutanugarn sisters and several young and up and coming youngsters ready to pick up the flag.
However, this morning it is Thidapa (Jasmine) Suwannapura who will be flying back to the States with a hefty cheque to add to her smile.
Watch out for her at the next LPGA tournament, Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.