Golf Asia

Honda LPGA Thailand

Emotional Ariya Storms Home For The Win


Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn staged one of her biggest fightbacks by firing a final round nine-under-par 63 to become the first Thai to win the Honda LPGA Thailand. The former world number one also snapped a three-year winless streak by lifting her 11th LPGA Tour title with her winning four-day total of 22-under-par 266 at the Siam Country Club.

Atthaya Thitkul, who had the chance to force a play-off with a birdie at the last hole, could only manage to close with a par when play resumed after a weather delay.

Ariya started her final round five shots off the lead in ninth place but fired an ominous warning to her rivals by charging out with three successive birdies starting from the first hole.

Two pars followed and then the two-time major champion stormed towards the turn with three birdies in her next four holes. She continued her birdie blitz on 10 and 12 and remained steady with another five straight pars from the 13th hole before a closing birdie on 18 sealed an emotional victory for the 25-year-old.

“This victory means a lot to me because I have always wanted to win in Thailand and I finally did it. I had a tough time the last two years. Sometimes, I tell myself I want to rest and stop (playing golf) for a while. But at the same time, I know I cannot give up as I need to try harder and one day, that win will come again,” said Ariya.

Despite coming so close to her breakthrou­gh on the LPGA Tour, Atthaya was delighted with her sterling performanc­e on home soil. “This is like a new experience for me, having come so close to a win. But I’m already feeling very proud to be here and it’s always amazing to be playing at home,” said Atthaya.

Starting the day five strokes back of Patty Tavatanaki­t’s -18 lead, Ariya had turned to her mental coaches Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott.

“I hit my iron like everywhere. I miss the putt. I mean, I feel like so tough for me. What should I do?” said Jutanugarn. “They’re just like, How about you just go out, have good commitment, and not thinking about the outcome.”

She did just that, closing the front nine with a 30 while hitting every green and fairway. “I want to say honestly (I felt confident) after first hole. Somehow today I’m not thinking about miss the shot and I hit it so good on the green, two-putt, birdie. And second hole I miss my second shot and make long putt, and third hole I hit it like this close. I’m like, today is going to be good day because I just have to keep do what I have to do, keep commitment.”

Ariua Jutanugarn’s final-round 63 is her lowest 18-hole score since recording a 62 at the Meijer LPGA Classic.

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