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Games-Yubol claims surprise golf gold for Thailand as Ashok crashes out

HANGZHOU, China - World number 206 Arpichaya Yubol claimed an unlikely gold medal in the women's golf at the Asian Games with a two-stroke win on Sunday as India number one Aditi Ashok gave up a seven-shot lead in a disastrous meltdown to settle for silver.

Yubol shot a four-under round of 68 to finish with an 19-under total of 269 at the West Lake International golf course in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, snatching the lead from Ashok at the par-three 16th when the Indian found water to crash to a double-bogey.

The 21-year-old Thai curled in a sumptuous birdie putt on the 17th to take a two-stroke cushion into the last hole, then tapped in for par for the biggest win of her career.

Yubol's victory helped Thailand also claim the women's team gold in a banner day for the nation's golf. Tears welled up as she embraced her ecstatic team mates Eila Galitsky and Patcharajutar Kongkraphanon the green.

"I'm so happy, and I made the Thai people proud that I can get two more gold medals," Yubol told reporters.

"This is my first Asian Games and that I can get the gold medal makes me proud of myself."

Having shot a magical 61 in the third round - the finest round of her career - Ashok teed off on Sunday with a seven-shot lead but ended up carding a five-under 77.

After picking up bogeys on the third and sixth, she steadied with a birdie on the ninth but dropped further strokes at the 1th and 15th before disaster struck at the 16th.

Hangzhou was the second big disappointment for Ashok at a major multi-sport Games, having missed out on a medal at the Tokyo Olympics by a stroke after being in contention right to the finish.

"I wasn't inconsistent like today," she said of the Olympics, where New Zealand's former world number one Lydia Ko snatched the bronze from her grasp.

"Someone was just a few shots better, whereas here today I kind of threw it away.

"I shot my career best round yesterday and probably the worst of the year today. So that's just what it was."

Yubol sympathised with Ashok, who struggled on the greens and off the tees.

"Normally she plays very nice and her putter is amazing," she said.

"But (today) I've seen her putter is not working.

"This is not good for her but yes, sometimes golf is golf."

Yubol was grouped with Chinese contender Lin Xiyu, who finished fourth behind South Korea's bronze medallist Yoo Hyun-jo and attracted plenty of cheers from spectators.

The Thai's good shots drew a far more muted response from local fans and her winning putt only a small smattering of applause.

"When I can get a birdie I just feel like (it's) very quiet," she laughed. REUTERS