YEAR-END AWARDS PRESENTED AT ROAD TO LPGA FINAL LAP VIP EVENT
Professionals, sponsors and amateurs came together on Tuesday night for the “Road to the LPGA” Final Lap VIP event at Daytona International Speedway in celebration of the Epson Tour Championship at LPGA International from Oct. 3-6. While the Player of the Year honor is still to be decided, the Epson Rising Star Award and the Gaelle Truet Rookie of the Year have both been determined.
Ssu-Chia Cheng (Taipei, Chinese Taipei) collected the Epson Rising Star Award, which is presented to the player making the biggest jump in the Volvik Race for the Card from the previous year. In addition to receiving a $1,500 check, Cheng will donate $1,000 to a charity of her choice.
Last season, the 21-year-old played the weekend 12 times in 19 starts and earned $23,588 to finish No. 46 on the money list. Entering the Epson Tour Championship, Cheng owns seven top-10s including her first professional win at the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship to amass $97,325 and sit at No. 3.
“It is really good to have this award, all the hard work pays off,” said Cheng. “There’s a huge difference between last year and this year. Standing here, I know my game improved a lot and mentally got better. It definitely proves how much work I put in and is satisfying to see such a large jump in confidence at all levels.”
Meanwhile, Patty Tavatanakit (Bangkok, Thailand) secured the Gaelle Truet Rookie of the Year thanks to three victories in 10 starts since making her professional debut at the Island Resort Championship in late June. The wins for the UCLA alumna came at Donald Ross Classic, Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic and Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge. In total, Tavatanakit has cashed $116,340.
“It’s just crazy and haven’t had the opportunity to reflect on what I’ve done,” Tavatanakit said. “Lately it has been boom, boom, boom and now we’re here at the last tournament. I knew I was capable, but it is unexpected which helped me get to this point. My spring at UCLA left me in a spot where I couldn’t even imagine playing this well. Not at all. It took some time for me to realize how important golf is to me and everything is so much clearer.”
MUANGKHUMSAKUL A LATE WITHDRAW FOR EPSON TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP
On the eve of the first round for the season finale Epson Tour Championship, Mind Muangkhumsakul (Banphai, Thailand) is a late withdraw and Patricia Sanz Barrio (Madrid, Spain) now completes the 108-player field. The Auburn University alumna slots into the 8:33 a.m. ET group off No. 10 tee tomorrow.
Currently ranked No. 10 in the Volvik Race for the Card, Muangkhumsakul holds a $10,176 cushion over Min Seo Kwak (Seoul, Republic of Korea) in the No. 11 position. In her third season on the Epson Tour, Muangkhumsakul has collected for total earnings of $81,046. Since turning pro at 14, she has won three times on the LPGA of Taiwan and was a LPGA rookie in 2018. Muangkhumsakul missed her tee time for Wednesday’s Pro-Am event and was withdrawn from the tournament according to Epson Tour regulations.