Hainan, China: Australian Tahnia Ravnjak scored a wire-to-wire victory at the China LPGA Tour Qualifying Tournament.
The rookie pro fired four birdies over the final seven holes en route to a closing two-under 70 over The Dunes at Shenzhou Peninsula West Course.
Ravnjak’s 54-hole total of eight-under 208 was three strokes clear of runner-up Zhang Yue, a teenage Chinese amateur, in the 88-player field in Hainan Island.
Chinese Taipei’s Peng Chieh (70) was third a further three shots back in the tournament where the top-30 players received full playing rights for the 2018 China LPGA Tour season.
Ravnjak, who held a two-stroke lead going into the final day, made a birdie four at the 495-yard second hole to get to seven-under. She then dropped shots with bogeys at holes four, seven and 10 to sit at four-under.
Her collapse came as playing partner Zhang posted three birdies over the first eight holes to get to get six-under. At the 536-yard 12th, 16-year-old Zhang made a bogey-six to Ravnjak’s birdie-four for a two-shot swing to tie for the lead at five-under.
While Zhang could do no better than even-par over the final six holes, Ravnjak found her range to ease home.
“I was really happy with my golf this week. My swing was good, my putting was really good and I made a few Chinese friends here. A really happy ending,” said 24-year-old Ravnjak, who hails from Cordeaux Heights near Wollongong.
Ravnjak, who turned pro last year after an outstanding college career at Campbell University in North Carolina, said she would return home to play the final six events of the Australian women’s tour season before coming back to China.
“Being my first year as a pro I just want to get as much experience as I can, play as many tournaments as I can. Hopefully I don’t miss too many cuts. This tournament was very well organised, I am looking forward to the 2018 China Tour.”
Zhang, 521st in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, demonstrated her potential, signing off with a 70.
“I didn’t put too much pressure on myself and didn’t think about winning, just focusing on my shots,” said the Hainan-based youngster, a China national team member.