Lilia Vu notches fourth win of season at The Annika

League: Golf

Posted on: 12 Nov, 2023 at 10:22 PM

Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Lilia Vu made two late birdies to pull away from the pack and record a three-shot victory at The Annika at Pelican Golf Club on Sunday in Belleair, Fla.

The win, her fourth of the season, means Vu is projected to move to No. 1 in the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings. She will remain second in the season-long Race to the CME Globe competition.

Vu posted a 4-under 66 to finish the week at 19-under 261. Alison Lee and Spain's Azahara Munoz finished back at 16 under after carding final rounds of 67.

Vu said winning isn't as easy as she's made it look this season.

"I think like each win of mine has had its own battle, and I think today was again myself," Vu said. "The wheels were kind of falling off a little bit on the back nine, early of the back nine.

"Then (caddie Cole Pensanti) just said, ‘Hey, just play your game and one shot at a time and we can make any putt from anywhere,' so just kept that positive mindset up."

Vu made three birdies over her first six holes before encountering a rough stretch. She settled for seven pars over the next eight holes and bogeyed the par-3 12th before bouncing back to birdie Nos. 15 and 16.

"I know I tend to be really hard on myself," Vu said. "As long as I set myself kind of easy, just to be in contention on the weekend, then it kind of just somehow happens."

The 26-year-old from California won two major championships earlier this year, the Chevron Championship and the AIG Women's Open.

While the gap between her and France's Celine Boutier for the CME Globe title was not fully overcome, the victory ought to push Vu in front in the Rolex Player of the Year award race. Boutier entered with a three-point lead on Vu this week but missed the cut at The Annika.

End-of-season awards will be decided after next week's season finale, the CME Group Tour Championship.

Lee, who had four birdies and a bogey Sunday, was happy for Vu, her former college teammate at UCLA.

"It's really cool to see Lilia play some amazing golf this year," Lee said. "You know, I know her first year on tour she struggled a bit, and she struggled to kind of find her way back on tour."

Amy Yang of South Korea shot 70 and placed fourth at 15 under. Stephanie Kyriacou of Australia (67) and Emily Kristine Pedersen of Denmark (74) tied for fifth at 14 under.

Pedersen, the 54-hole leader, failed to make a birdie all day and was done in by a double bogey at the par-4 18th hole.

China's Ruoning Yin is no longer in contention for Rolex Player of the Year. She shot a 68 Sunday and tied for seventh at 13 under with Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn (65), Japan's Minami Katsu (69), Lexi Thompson (67) and Megan Khang (68).

--Field Level Media