JUTANUGARN IS GOLF’S HOTTEST PLAYER

The Drumheller Mail - - REAL ESTATE - Bruce Pen­ton Care to com­ment? Email bru­ce­pen­ton2003@ya­hoo.ca

Ask a group of knowl­edge­able golf fans the name of 2016’s hottest golfer in the world and you’d be amazed at the wide va­ri­ety of names you might hear. Is it world No. 1 Ja­son Day, who as­cended to the top of the men’s rank­ings last spring af­ter win­ning three times in a six-tour­na­ment span, in­clud­ing a ti­tle at the Play­ers Cham­pi­onship? Is it Dustin John­son, who won the U.S. Open and had the Big 3 re­named the Big 4 as a re­sult? Is it Justin Rose, who won the gold medal at the Rio Olympics? Maybe it’s a woman? Yes, in- deed, it is a woman. But it’s not teenager Ly­dia Ko, the No. 1 ranked fe­male in the world, nor is it fel­low teen Brooke Hen­der­son, the thir­dranked fe­male who is No. 1 in the hearts of all Cana­dian golf fans. No, the hottest golfer in the world this year has been Thai­land’s 20-year-old Ariya Jutanugarn (Joot-AN-uh­garn), who has ab­so­lutely dom­i­nated the Ladies Pro­fes­sional Pro­fes­sional Golfers’ As­so­ci­a­tion scene since the first week of May. She won three suc­ces­sive tour­na­ments in May, fol­lowed by a third-place fin­ish, three rela- tive off-weeks (two top 20s and a 44th) be­fore re­bound­ing for a run­ner-up fin­ish at the Marathon Clas­sic and a ma­jor cham­pi­onship vic­tory at the women’s Bri­tish Open. At Rio, Jutanugarn was lead­ing af­ter 18 holes be­fore suf­fer­ing a knee in­jury and pulling out. The in­jury wasn’t too se­ri­ous, though, be­cause within a week, she was com­pet­ing, and win­ning, at the CN Cana­dian Women’s Open at Cal­gary. If you’re keep­ing track, that’s five wins, a sec­ond and a third in 10 events. “I al­ways said it would be scary if she ever re­al­ized how good she is,” Jutanugarn’s friend and men­tor Christina Kim, told SI.com’s Alan Ship­nuck. “Well, it’s here, and as ex­pected, it’s pretty damn fright­en­ing.” Aria and her sis­ter Moriya, daugh­ters of golf­ing par­ents who run a golf pro shop in Bangkok, were pre-teen and teen golf phe­noms al­most a decade ago. Ariya played in an LPGA event in Thai­land at age 11 and racked up five top-four fin­ishes in LPGA and Ladies Euro­pean Tour events by the time she was 13. But a shoul­der in­jury in 2013 stalled her progress and in 2015, her game was shoddy, with 10 con­sec­u­tive missed cuts on the LPGA Tour. But that was then. Now? It won’t be long be­fore golf fans around the world will ac­tu­ally be able to prop­erly pro­nounce her name.

• Dwight Perry of the Seat­tle Times: “Bills de­fen­sive end IK Enemk­pali — the guy who punched ex-Jets team­mate Geno Smith a year ago, break­ing his jaw — is out for the sea­son af­ter tear­ing his ACL dur­ing Buf­falo’s first ex­hi­bi­tion game. But no, IK isn’t short for In­stant Karma.”

• Brad Dick­son of the Omaha World-Her­ald: “The Cleve­land Cava­liers ex­tended the con­tract of coach Ty­ronn Lue for five years. This is, of course, sub­ject to LeBron James’ weekly re­view.”

• Greg Cote of the Mi­ami Her­ald, on what coaches around the world would say if they took their cue from Don­ald Trump: “The only way we lose this game is if the other side cheats and the sys­tem is rigged.”

• Com­edy writer Jim Barach on a study claim­ing that bronze-medal win­ners have hap­pier re­ac­tions than those win­ning sil­ver: “To which Michael Phelps says, ‘The Olympics have a bronze medal?’ ”

• Greg Cote again: “A game­worn Stephen Curry mouth­guard sold for $3,190 at an auc­tion. Prov­ing true the old P.T. Bar­num adage, “There’s a sucker with $3,190 born ev­ery minute.”

• Sports talk show host Colin Cowherd, on Twit­ter: “No­body gets to the truth like Ryan Lochte on his fourth at­tempt.”

• NBC’s Seth Mey­ers, check­ing the fi­nal Olympic tally: “The U.S. brought home 46 gold medals, 37 sil­ver and four id­iots.”

• Dwight Perry again: “Ryan Lochte’s re­turn to com­mer­cial en­dorse­ments? Our money’s on one of those South­west Air­lines ‘Want to get away?’ ads.”

• Co­me­dian Ar­gus Hamil­ton, on how Olympians’ lives are dif­fer­ent from ours: “Late last night, Michael Phelps found an Olympic gold medal in his couch cush­ion.”

• TC in BC: “The U.S. 4 x 100 men’s re­lay team didn’t win its ap­peal. On the other hand they stopped short of say­ing they were robbed in Rio.”

• An­other one from Cote, on Twit­ter: “Ryan Lochte re­port­edly will be fea­tured in the up­com­ing sea­son of Danc­ing With the Stars. He pre­vi­ously starred in Danc­ing Around the Truth.”

• Brad Dick­son again: “A Chi­nese sil­ver medal-win­ning men’s diver pro­posed to the fe­male sil­ver medal-win­ning diver from China. I pre­dict they’ll have the sec­ond-best mar­riage in the world.”

• TBS late night co­me­dian Co­nan O’Brien: “It’s been re­ported that af­ter win­ning three gold medals in Rio, Us­ain Bolt was caught cheat­ing on his girl­friend. More impressive, he was also found with an­other woman just 14 sec­onds later.

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