DUBAI // Loudmouth Golf must have wondered what they had got ten themselves into.
The American apparel company, made famous by two-time major champion and perpetual lighting rod John Daly, were approached last year by a friend of an emergent Thai golfer who thought the two parties were tailor-made for each other.
On first impressions, they would have thought it was a stitch-up. Pornanong Phatlum is as understated as they come, but yesterday at Emirates Golf Club, the world No 47 created such a racket that she emerged as the 2013 Omega Dubai Ladies Masters champion.
Standing toe to toe with Stacy Lewis, the tournament leader going into the final round, the diminutive Phatlum delivered a gargantuan knock-out with a birdie on the 18th green to seal by a single shot her second title on the Ladies European Tour. A wild thing, indeed.
"When I'm on the course I just play my game," Phatlum said. "I didn't think about the win or putting pressure on myself. Just be calm, play the course and enjoy myself and then everything goes well. And that's what happened."
Although she smiled broadly throughout her post-tournament victory valediction, it would have required a quick check of the pulse to verify Phatlum's claim that she was "very excited".
That comes with, she says, the help of her brother, an Asian Tour player who shares a love for meditation while also performing dual duties as sibling and caddie. Named Pornpong, he often goes by the moniker "Wow". What a beautifully apt description of his sister's standout Saturday.
Three shots behind Lewis on the 13th tee, Phatlum drew level on the penultimate hole when she capitalised on the American's missed birdie putt to sink her own. At the last, she almost holed a 54-degree-wedge approach that settled two feet from the pin.
When Lewis left a birdie attempt just short, Phatlum held her nerve to register her first official win since last year's Indian Open.
"Definitely Stacy's a big name, but I didn't think about beating her," said Phatlum, who turned 24 on December 4. "I just won by myself and my own game. It really increases my confidence and inspires me to move forward."
Conversely, her vanquished opponent will seek to confine this to the past. On debut in Dubai, Lewis appeared poised to conclude an already impressive campaign with another highlight, but having surrendered the lead on the 71st hole, she never really recovered.
The failed birdie putt on 17th particularly irked, especially as a camera snapped in the gallery as Lewis drew back her club.
"It is what it is," she said. "It could have hit a spike mark, or lipped-out, so you can't really go too much on that. It's happened before and I should've been able to keep going, but it distracted me enough that I pulled it."
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Anyway, Lewis said, that her putter ran cold in the desert was the biggest contributing factor in the failure to get the job done this week.
Recent close calls have, by her own admission, "left a sour taste" in a season that should be remembered for climbing to world No 1 and capturing a second major-championship title.
And sometimes, you just have to give credit where it is due.
"I'm disappointed," she said. "But that back nine Pornanong played was pretty impressive. She hit the shots when she needed to and made the putts. And I didn't."
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