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After rough Open debut, Patty Tavatankit returns with a game ready for the links

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A lot has changed since Patty Tavatanakit made her AIG Women’s Open debut in 2020.

It was just one year ago that Tavatanakit, a rookie on the LPGA Tour, carded rounds of 76-83 at Royal Troon, to miss the cut in her first debut. The experience was eye opening for the young Thai, who immediately connected with her coach, Grant Waite, to add more shots to her arsenal to better navigate the wind.

“It was definitely different golf,” Tavatanakit said Wednesday about her first links experience. “I feel like I was trying to be perfect too much, and, you know, you can't really be like that on a links course. You've just got to be yourself and just embrace all chances and play like you own the course.”

Now, 12 months removed from that first Women’s Open experience, Tavatanakit returns at Carnoustie, not with just more shots in her bag, but as a major champion. In April, the long hitter played with an overwhelming sense of ownership as she averaged more than 320 yards off the tee at Mission Hills en route to capturing her first victory on tour and maiden major title at the ANA Inspiration.

Full-field tee times from AIG Women’s Open

Tavatanakit also arrives at Carnoustie well-rested, an advantage as many players have played non-stop since May when the LPGA Tour began a 12 week stretch that included four major championships and the Olympics. While Tavatanakit represented Thailand in Tokyo, the trip came after an unplanned month off.

In July, Tavatankait withdrew from the Marathon Classic because of health concerns. Wednesday, she did not elaborate on the details of her health but said she spent that week working with her trainer to try and increase her energy. She hoped she would be up for playing the following week in Michigan at the team event but still didn’t feel physically ready. She also opted not to play the following week at the Evian Championship, the season’s fourth major.

Patty Tavatanakit 'really looking forward to' AIG Open

Patty Tavatanakit 'really looking forward to' AIG Open

“Everything happens for a reason, and I'm really grateful for my time at home and just to rest, and anything on top of that, I feel really fresh finishing off this season,” Tavatanakit said, adding her health concerns have been resolved. “I'm fresh and I feel like I have a little bit more energy than other girls.”

Tavatanakit made her first start in more than a month at the Olympics, where she was T-23. She returned to the tour last week in Scotland, where she was able to test those new shots she’d added on a links layout. She carded a final round 5-under 65 to finish T-27.

“I developed a lot in terms of working my game to fit in the course conditions to play in the wind and to control my flight,” Tavatankit said. “Had a really good practice in the wind last week, too. So, coming into this week, I feel like I'm a little bit more prepared than last year.”