Houston's Chirapat Jao-Javanil hung on defending champion Savannah Vilaubi to win the 2017 Texas Women's Open. Brian Gosset bgosset@star-telegram.com
Houston's Chirapat Jao-Javanil hung on defending champion Savannah Vilaubi to win the 2017 Texas Women's Open. Brian Gosset bgosset@star-telegram.com

Golf

Hot start gives Houston’s Chirapat Jao-Javanil Texas Women’s Open title

By Brian Gosset

bgosset@star-telegram.com

July 14, 2017 07:39 PM

UPDATED July 14, 2017 10:22 PM

ARLINGTON

Chirapat Jao-Javanil was happy and satisfied after finishing her final round Friday at Rolling Hills Country Club. She had met her personal goal.

She held a two-stroke lead, with defending champion Savannah Vilaubi making one last push after making a birdie on the 17th hole.

Vilaubi had a 20-foot putt to tie on No. 18, but it missed to the left by a hair, and Jao-Javanil won the 2017 Texas Women’s Open by one stroke.

She won a $5,000 check and an exemption into any LPGA event in 2018.

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“I think maybe luck was on my side,” Jao-Javanil, of Houston, said. “I felt more comfortable, like I was use to the greens and the course since I played it the past 36 holes.”

The native of Thailand and former NCAA national champion from Oklahoma made eagle on No. 1 and then had four straight birdies to help her finish with a 4-under 67, and 5 under overall, a 208 total, for 54 holes.

I didn’t even realize [Savannah] could tie. I met my goal and if it was tied and we had to play more then we had to play more. You can’t control what anyone else is doing — that’s the beauty of golf.

Chirapat Jao-Javanil

“I usually give myself a number of birdies where I want to end up and if I win, great, but if not then at least I met my personal goal,” Jao-Javanil said. “I like to play golf against myself and if I end up beating other people, that’s even better.”

Her drive on No. 1 went to the right and set up next to a tree, but Jao-Javanil was lucky enough to where she could hit it onto the green. She used a 9-iron from about 126 yards and the ball landed on the fringe in front of the flag and rolled in.

“I thought it was just going to be a nice putt, but it kind of disappeared, and there was the eagle,” she said.

Through the next four holes, Jao-Javanil didn’t have a birdie putt outside of seven feet. On the par 5 No. 5, she hit her third shot, a chip, to a foot of the hole.

“The eagle and the birdie following — it was kind of my goal to get to five or six birdies today, so it was fun to feel like I reached my mark right off the bat,” she said.

2012 The year Jao-Javanil became the Oklahoma Sooners’ first NCAA women’s individual champion.

At one point, Jao-Javanil was 7 under and had a four-stroke lead, but ran into trouble at No. 9 and No. 11. The pair of bogeys presented an opportunity for the other contenders.

She said it could’ve been worse — she made a 5-foot putt to save bogey on No. 9 — and then got back on track with a “textbook” birdie on No. 13.

“It made it more fun,” said Jao-Javanil, who hit a 7-iron onto the green at No. 13. “I had so many birdies in the beginning so to have that rush again, it was a good feeling.”

It’s a first. I never started the day with an eagle and then four birdies, so I think this win, this last round, rates on top of everything I’ve experienced so far with winning.

Jao-Javanil

Vilaubi, who finished with a 70, double-bogeyed on No. 15 to drop her to four behind.

Regina Plasencia of Guadalajara, Texas, finished third at 3 under while Tyler’s Haley Mills and Louisville’s Laura Restrepo ended at 2-under.

Wylie’s Maddie McCrary, Dallas’ Megan Thothong and Allen’s Jordy LaBarbera all finished at 1 over — the best result for any golfer from the Metroplex.