ARIYA JUTANUGARN

U.S. WOMEN’S OPEN

Golf Australia - - AROUND THE TRAPS -

WIN­NING SCORE: 11-un­der-par, 277. DE­FEATED: Hyo Joo Kim in a four hole play­off. DEFIN­ING MO­MENTS: Jutanugarn looked al­most im­pos­si­ble to beat as she made the turn in the fi­nal round, hav­ing added five birdies and a lone bo­gey to ex­tend her overnight four­shot lead to seven with just nine holes to play. But with Kim play­ing steady bo­gey-free golf and in pos­ses­sion of a hot put­ter, Jutanugarn be­gan to feel the pres­sure and opened her back nine with a triple-bo­gey seven, be­fore a bo­gey at the 12th hole, where Kim, play­ing in the group ahead, had holed a 40-foot birdie putt.

Kim added an­other im­prob­a­ble birdie from off the green at the 15th hole, which Jutanugarn matched with a birdie of her own at the par-3 16th to reach 13-un­der and lead by two.

How­ever, the 22-year-old dropped shots at the fi­nal two holes to sign for a back nine 41 and 11-un­der to­tal, ty­ing the Korean and forc­ing a two-hole ag­gre­gate play­off.

When Kim rolled in a birdie at the 14th, the first play­off hole, it looked like Ariya had let a golden op­por­tu­nity for an­other ma­jor ti­tle go by. But a bo­gey at the 18th from her op­po­nent al­lowed Jutanugarn to take the play­off into sud­den death with an up-and-down par.

The com­bat­ants re­turned to the 14th, where Kim nearly re­peated her ef­forts, her birdie putt just miss­ing, while Jutanugarn made par from the green­side bunker to ex­tend the match once again.

With both play­ers fac­ing green­side bunker shots as they played the 18th for a third time, the for­mer World No.1 de­liv­ered the knock­out blow, splash­ing out to 18-inches to se­cure a par and the 73rd US Open. WITH THIS VIC­TORY… : • Jutanugarn claims her sec­ond ma­jor ti­tle and be­comes just the fifth player to win both the US Women’s Open and Women’s Bri­tish Open, which she won in 2016. Join­ing An­nika Soren­stam, Kar­rie Webb, Se Ri Pak and In­bee Park in the exclusive club. • The first ever US Open cham­pion from Thai­land takes her ca­reer earnings beyond $6 mil­lion on the LPGA Tour and be­comes the first mul­ti­ple win­ner of 2018. • Jutanugarn rises to No.2 in the world rank­ing hav­ing dipped as low as 9th since claim­ing the top spot for the first time in 2017.

“… AF­TER THIS WIN I THINK I’LL BE THINK­ING ABOUT THE RANK­ING AND TALK ABOUT THAT, BUT I EVEN WANT TO BE NO. 1, I WANT TO IN­SPIRE ALL THE KIDS IN THAI­LAND.” – ARIYA JUTANUGARN

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