Patty Tavatanakit, UCLA Phenom

Patty Tavatanakit not only won the 2018 ANNIKA Intercollegiate - one of the biggest tournaments in NCAA women's golf - but she did it with a record-setting effort.

Tavatanakit, a sophomore from Thailand, shot a final-round 63 to win by a single stroke. The score set a new course record at Royal Golf Club in Lake Elmo, Minn., and it also tied the UCLA school record first established last season by Lilia Vu.

But Patty's round was even more impressive than that. She started the final round in ninth place and seven strokes off the lead. Through her first eight holes, she was even-par.

But starting on the ninth hole, Tavatanakit made seven birdies in a row. Then she threw in the winning eagle on the final hole, playing the back nine in just 28 strokes.

“Coming into the week I did not expect to win,” Tavatanakit told Golfweek. “Even yesterday, I was struggling ... I was hoping that good things would happen and they did.”

Understatement alert.

Patty is coming off a freshman year at UCLA in which she played all 10 tournaments and won three of them, including a tie for the Pac-12 Championship. Tavatanakit also threw in a 2nd-place and a 3rd-place finish; in the other five events, she finished no lower than 19th.

How Swede It Is for Young Pro Linnea Strom

The latest first-time winner as a pro is Linnea Strom, whose initial professional victory happened in the 2018 Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge, a Symetra Tour tournament in South Dakota.

Strom scored an eagle and four birdies in her final round and finished at 11-under 269. That was one stroke ahead of runner-up Charlotte Thomas of England.

Strom is from Sweden, but has played most of her golf in the United States over the past five years. That's because she headed to Arizona State University to play NCAA golf, graduating in 2017. And she played it very well, earning All-America recognition. Among her college tournament victories was the 2016 Pac-12 Conference individual championship.

The $31,000 winner's check in South Dakota rocketed Strom up the Symetra Tour's money list, from 24th place to second. Her previous best finish was a tie for third, and she also has 8th-, 11th-, 12th, 14th- and 16th-place finishes among her Symetra Tour successes in 2018.

Meet International Golfer Minami Levonowich

Minami Levonowich is a woman of the world. She was born in England to a Japanese mother and American father. As a child she lived in England, Russia, Switzerland and the United States. Today she lives in Japan and works in Taiwan.

It must be difficult for friends and family to keep up with her!

Levonowich is a professional golfer whose journey includes being part of the University of Kansas women's golf team. But today she plays primarily on the Taiwan LPGA Tour. From her current home base in Japan, Minami is able to play tournaments across Asia, not just Taiwan but also Korea, China and Southeast Asia.

At recent tournaments in the Philippines, Minami was excited to find four fellow Kansas Jayhawks playing those events, too. It "blew my mind because no other school came even close to that," she said.

Levonowich's itinerant childhood serves her golf well today, she believes: "Since I grew up playing golf in 'European' weather, I feel like my golf style is good for harsh, windy conditions, and maybe that’s why I fit well in Kansas and Taiwan because it's also known to be very windy there."

Her family ultimately moved to the United States so Minami could pursue golf more seriously at the IJGA golf academy in South Carolina. She spent her high school years there, which led to the scholarship offer from Kansas. Her senior season at KU was 2014-15.

Living in Japan now and playing tournaments across Asia has opened up other opportunities for her, too. She's done some modeling and has appeared on multiple television shows.

One of those TV shows was the KLPGA-themed Cinderella Story, a Big Break-style competition for golfers from various Asian countries (plus Minami, who represented the U.S.) competing for opportunities to play in Korea.

"We spent about two days in Seoul at this amazing hotel called Paradise City where we filmed the title screen, and then we flew to Malaysia and did all the challenges," she said. "It was one of the best experiences of my life and those 11 girls became like family to me since we did almost everything together."

One of the results of her television time is that Minami is now sometimes recognized by fans who've seen her on TV. "It still feels so new to me, so when people come up to me saying they saw me on TV, I get so shocked," she said.

What does the future hold for Levonowich? She'd love to make it onto the Japan LPGA: "That has always been my dream from when I was in college. However, it’s one of the harder tours to get into." She's also establishing a recruiting business, matching young Japanese golfers with American colleges.

A return to the U.S. is something she looks forward to, too.

"I love the U.S. and eventually I want to move back, but for now there are just too many opportunities for me here."

One of those opportunities comes up in February, when Minami plans to take a shot at another tour, playing the China LPGA's Q-School.

You can follow Minami's journey on Instagram (@ minami.levonowich) and Twitter (@MinamiAnna93).

2018: The Summer of Yealimi Noh

Yealimi Noh is having quite the summer in 2018. On Sunday, July 22, she won her third big tournament - and it's the biggest of them all for juniors: The U.S. Girls' Junior Championship.

Noh defeated 13-year-old Alexa Pano, 4 and 3, in the championship match, which was played just four days before Noh's 17th birthday. In the quarterfinals, Noh defeated Valery Plata of Colombia, 7 and 5; and in the semifinals she beat Gina Kim of North Carolina.

Noh, from Concord, Calif., entered the 2018 U.S. Girls' Junior ranked No. 54 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings. She'll obviously be moving up. Eventually, she'll be moving on the UCLA for college golf (at least that is the plan as of now).

Earlier this summer Noh won the AJGA's Hana Financial Group Se Ri Pak Junior Championship, one of the big events of junior golf. And just a couple weeks ago she won another of the "junior majors," the Junior PGA Championship, with a record-setting score of 24-under 264.

Muni He Collects Her First Symetra Tour Victory

Muni He has the change to become a major star in golf and she took a major step in the right direction by winning the Symetra Tour's 2018 Prasco Charity Championship. The tournament, played in Cincinnati, Ohio, concluded on July 1.

He won comfortably, finishing four strokes ahead of runner-up Becca Huffer. He carded rounds of 65, 69 and 67, finishing at 15-under 201.

He, who is from China and whose nickname is Lily, is in her rookie year as a pro after spending two seasons on the University of Southern California golf team. In nine previous appearances on the Symetra Tour in 2018, Muni's previous best finish was a tie for seventh place. That was her only Top 10 until winning the Prasco Charity Championship.

He boasts a stellar pedigree in junior and amateur golf. She is also, as might guess from the photos, an amateur model. She has more than 140,000 followers on Instagram. And as her golf career heats up, expect her modeling career to heat up, too.

A post shared by Lily (@lilymhe) on

Why There's a 6 at the End of Jeongeun Lee's Name

Should we say that Jeongeun Lee possesses quite a bit of ... six appeal?

If you follow women's golf and, specifically, check the scores of tournaments, then you have noticed something odd. In scores, Korean golfer Jeongeun Lee's name often includes the number "6." It appears in the scores as Jeongeun Lee6, for example. Or, sometimes, as Jeongeun6 Lee.

Here are two examples, screenshots of the USGA and LPGA leaderboards from the 2018 U.S. Women's Open, showing both versions:

What's up with that?

Have to admit, when I first noticed this I thought something was being lost in translation from the Korean. But no, it's just a six, and it's there at Jeongeun Lee's request.

The explanation is simple. When Lee first arrived on the Korean LPGA several years ago, she found five other Lees named Jeongeun already on tour. So she added the "6" to differentiate herself from the rest. Now you know.

Louise Ridderstrom Wins with Course Record

Louise Ridderstrom won her first Symetra Tour trophy in grand style: by setting the course scoring record.

In fact Ridderstrom, from Sweden, posted a personal best competition score in the second round, then lowered that score in the final round.

In the end, she won by four strokes at the 2018 Valley Forge Invitation. Her scores were 69-65-69 for a total of 16-under 197. Ridderstrom birdied three of the final five holes, including the last.

“Winning is hard, but if it’s your turn, then it’s your turn. I was telling myself that all day,” Ridderström told SymetraTour.com. “My one and only goal today was to concentrate on myself and try to hit the best shot that I could possibly hit every single shot. It was just one shot at a time and I think I stuck pretty well to that.”

Louise turned pro following an NCAA golf career with UCLA that concluded in 2016. She majored in International Development Studies.

Her rookie year on the Symetra Tour was 2017, and Ridderstrom made eight cuts in 14 starts. So far in 2018, Louise has made a clear jump up in performance. In her two most-recent starts, she posted a tie for fifth place and now the win at the Valley Forge.

A couple swing videos that Ridderstrom has shared on social media:

Shi Yuting Is Young Chinese Golf Star In the Making

Shi Yuting is an up-and-coming golf on Asian tours and just won a tournament on the China LPGA Tour (CLPGA) for the second consecutive year.

Shi won the 2018 Le Coq Sportif Beijing Ladies Classic, beating Keh Munchin of New Zealand in a playoff. Shi opened the tournament with a score of 73, then posted back-to-back 66s to finish at 11-under 205.

She also won the tournament in 2017, one of several titles Shi has won on the Chinese tour.

Shi herself was born in Japan but plays under the Chinese flag. In 2017, she was a rookie on the Japan LPGA Tour (JLPGA). She also has tournament appearances on the Thai LPGA and Ladies Asian golf tours.

And on the LPGA Tour, in a handful of events. Shi, who is 20 years old at the time of this writing, posted a pair of Top 60 finishes in LPGA Asian stops in 2016, when she was 18.

Still in the earliest stages of her career, Shi has developed a reputation as a fashion icon, both on and off the golf course.

The Women of 'Shotmakers,' Golf Channel's New Show with Topgolf

What is Shotmakers? It's a new golf series coming to Golf Channel that was shot at Topgolf Las Vegas. In Shotmakers, nine teams - each consisting of one woman and one man - compete in shotmaking games at TopGolf. And, according to Golf Channel, "Shotmakers will feature the fun, social experience for which Topgolf is known, blending entertainment, golf and technology throughout the competition."

Shotmakers will air during the month of April 2018 on Golf Channel. Episode 1 is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET on Monday, April 9; episodes will air on Mondays and Tuesdays through the end of the month, seven in all.

Following is a look at the nine women golfers who appear in Shotmakers.

Tisha Alyn Abrea

A grad of Cal State Fullerton, Tisha has played mostly on the mini-tours and posted her first professional win on the NWGA Tour in 2016. She is 24 years old, from Murrieta, Calif., and is cofounder of the social media juggernaut Women With Drive.

Susana Benavides

The 27-year-old Benavides is from Cochabamba, Bolivia, and has the distinction of being the only golfer born in Bolivia to play on the LPGA Tour.

Nikki Bondura

She goes by "NikkiB" on social media and web, and Bondura is Abrea's cofounder of Women With Drive. Her lifestyle blog is popular online.

Christina Lecuyer

You might remember Christina from her appearance on another Golf Channel series, The Big Break. Now 35 and living in Arkansas, where she went to college, Lecuyer is described as a "professional corporate/charity golf host and media personality."

Victoria Lovelady

Victoria, aka "Vica," is a Brazilian who represented her country in the 2016 Olympics. She plays on the Symetra Tour and Ladies European Tour.

Kenzie O'Connell

Kenzie is a popular presence on social media and a golf instructor in Colorado. Like several other Shotmakers cast members, she works with the Women With Drive crew.

Hailey Ostrom

After winning in college at George Fox University in Oregon, Hailey is early into her career as a pro golfer and playing on mini-tours. She's currently based in Phoenix.

Chelsea Pezzola

Chelsea, 25 years old, played golf at the University of Michigan and is now based in Arizona, where she plays mini-tours and does corporate outings and pro-ams. She also recently started getting into broadcasting.

Tania Tare

Tania, age 29, is originally from New Zealand but is now based in the USA. And she has become Internet-famous for her remarkable trick-shot abilities. She can play, too, though: She holds the school record for low round at Florida International University with a 63.

Minju Kim and the 'Golf Bowling' Video

Have you seen the "golf bowling" video that came out of Korea? A Korean LPGA golfer tees up a ball at the end of a bowling lane and then, using her driver, smacks the ball into the pins at the end of the lane. They all fall down — a strike! If you haven't seen it, here it is:

The golfer in the video is Minju Kim, who is a Class A LPGA teaching professional (with some competitive experience) in South Korea. She has at least some prominence in that country because she has a sponsorship deal with the Korean division of Fila Golf, part of the worldwide Fila Sports brand. In fact, it was Fila Golf for whom Minju Kim pulls off this trick shot. As you see near the end of the video, a Fila Golf message comes onscreen, making this video, essentially, an ad for Fila.

We take no position on the question of whether Minju actually pulled off this shot, or whether it might, instead, have been accomplished with good video editing. (Others have tried to look into that question and the best we can say is that nobody has proved it isn't real.)

But we do take a position on Minju Kim: She's definitely a golf babe!

Sharmila Nicollet Back in the Winner's Circle

She had to wait longer than she wanted (or probably expected), but India's Sharmila Nicollet is a winner again. Sharmila claimed the Hero WPGT 18 tour's second-leg tournament in Mumbai, which concluded on Jan. 25, 2018. And she did it by shooting 68 in the final round, tied for low score of the day.

Nicollet did it despite a late stumble - she bogied her final two holes in regulation. That put her finishing, 54-hole total at 214, tied with Neha Tripathi. But Sharmila then won the playoff to claim the title.

It was the first tournament victory for Nicollet since August 2016 at an event also on the Indian women's circuit. Nicollet also has victories on the Ladies Asian Golf Tour and has played several seasons on the Ladies European Tour.

Sharmila told reporters at the Mumbai tournament that her plans for 2018 include playing the LAGT, the LET, plus several coming events in Australia.

Golf Magazine's 2018 'Most Stylish' Videos

In recent years, Golf.com, the website of Golf Magazine, has done annual "Most Beautiful Women in Golf" photo spreads. In 2018, the publication did something different. It switched to the "Most Stylish People In Golf," included both men and women, and did photo spreads in the actual magazine, not just online.

Of course, we're only interested in the "Most Stylish" female golfers. This is Golf Babes, not Golf Dudes.

The five women Golf Magazine included in solo photoshoots were Michelle Wie (named Most Stylish overall), Paula Creamer, Amanda Balionis (a presented on pgatour.com), Lexi Thompson and Paige Spiranac. (Bailey Mosier Chamblee of the Golf Channel was also included as part of what Golf Magazine named the Most Stylish Couple, with husband Brandel Chamblee.)

Along with the magazine photo spreads, the publication put together behind-the-scenes videos from each of those shoots. And that's what we're presenting here. These are the five such videos for the five women featured by Golf Magazine: