Eila Galitsky, 16, wins Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific for 3 major invites

Eila Galitsky, 16, wins Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific for 3 major invites
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Talk about a life-changing victory.

Eila Galitsky, a 16-year-old dual citizen of Thailand and Canada, completed a dominant performance Sunday at the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific at Singapore Island Country Club. She closed in 4-under 68 to finish at 14 under, five shots clear of runner-up Minsol Kim of South Korea.

With her triumph, Galitsky collected a slew of exemptions for later this year, including three major invites (Chevron, AIG Women’s Open and Evian), the Hana Financial Group Championship, ISPS Handa Australian Open, British Women’s Amateur and Augusta National Women’s Amateur.

“What an opportunity I’ve got,” Galitsky said. “I just need to try to savor every moment.”

Galitsky, ranked No. 193 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, is the second Thai to win the WAAP, now in its fifth year, following inaugural winner Atthaya Thitikul.

Leading by four shots entering the final round, Galtisky carded five final-round birdies, including three in her final four holes after she missed a 1-footer for par at the par-4 14th hole. Her last birdie, at the par-5 closing hole, was set up by a 375-yard drive that left her just a 7-iron into the green.

“I never thought about winning until I made that first putt on the 18th hole,” Galitsky said. “I was very nervous going into the final round. I did not sleep well and woke up at 4:30 a.m. I did not expect this to happen at the beginning of the week. I played my first practice round here and lost five balls that day. At that point, I was thinking making the cut would be a good result.

 “Honestly, I set a goal for myself today. I was going to play 5 under. I was one short of it. The reason I was aiming for 5 under par was because my four-day record was 14 under par. I was just trying to break that record today.”

Kim, ranked No. 14 in WAGR, birdied Nos. 16 and 17 to get within four shots, but her second shot at No. 18 rolled through the green and into the water, and the Korean settled for par and a closing 70.

“I am happy about finishing second, but I am slightly disappointed as well,” Kim said. “I thought my long game was pretty good, but after the first two days, I just could not make any putts.”

Japan’s Yuna Araki, the fifth-ranked amateur in the world, tied for third at 6 under with South Korea’s Yeji Park, New Zealand’s Fiona Xu and Hong Kong’s Sophie Han. Defending champ Ting-Hsuan Huang of Chinese-Taipei finished solo ninth.

Yujie Liu, a 12-year-old from China, ended up T-32.

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