Bangkok Post

No.1 Ariya says hard work’s not over yet


Ariya Jutanugarn has vowed to work harder after officially taking the No.1 spot in the latest world rankings published yesterday.

The Thai dethroned New Zealand’s Lydia Ko on Saturday when third-ranked Ryu So-Yeon missed the cut at the ShopRite Classic in New Jersey.

Neither Ariya nor Ko played in the tournament. Ryu needed at least a third-place finish to stand a chance of securing the No.1 place.

Ariya is the 10th player to reach No.1 since the women’s rankings were introduced in 2006 and the first from Thailand.

“I am glad to become the world No.1. I am proud to prove that a Thai can do it,” said Ariya.

“I know that the No.1 spot could change hands every week because the top players are separated by narrow margins. They all are good players and all deserve to be No.1.

“Nothing is certain. It will be tougher for me and I have to work harder to face tougher competitio­ns.”

Ariya, who is Thailand’s first and only champion on the LPGA Tour, won five tournament­s last year but has yet to secure one this year.

She last played at the Volvik Championsh­ip two weeks ago when she finished joint 21st.

Ko, 20, has suffered a slump in form since winning silver at the 2016 Olympics.

She switched to a new coach and a new set of clubs before the 2017 season began, but has yet to regain form that saw her win two majors.

She is currently taking a three-week break, which started with the ShopRite Classic.

The Kiwi had been ranked No.1 in the world since Oct 25, 2015.

Meanwhile, Kim In-Kyung captured her fifth LPGA title on Sunday, firing a final-round 69 to beat two-time defending champion Anna Nordqvist by two strokes in the ShopRite Classic.

Kim, who ended a six-year victory drought when she lifted the trophy at the Reignwood LPGA Classic in China in October, came into the final round tied for the lead with American Paula Creamer.

She had three birdies and one bogey in her two-under-par 69 effort for 202.

Nordqvist stayed in touch all day in her bid for a “three-peat” but her own 69 left her two adrift on 204.

Ariya’s older sister Moriya shot a 74 to finish tied for seventh on 207 along with Creamer.

Kim said the concentrat­ion required in the difficult, windy conditions meant she didn’t realise until the final hole that she had a two-stroke cushion.

“I was pretty nervous. It was so windy, just keeping it in play was tough,” said Kim after a round that saw the leaders take almost five hours to finish.

The 28-year-old was making just her sixth start of 2017. She spent the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 recovering after falling down the stairs.

“I really prepared for this summer,” she said. “I didn’t expect it right away, but I knew my game was better than last year. That’s all I can really ask for.”


(USA unless noted, par-71)

202 — Kim In-Kyung (KOR) 66-67-69

204 — Anna Nordqvist (SWE) 64-71-69

206 — Michelle Wie 71-70-65, Jenny Shin (KOR) 65-7269, Lee Jeong-Eun (KOR) 65-70-71, Jacqui Concolino 70-66-70

207 — Jaye Marie Green 71-70-66, Gaby Lopez (MEX) 69-71-67, Mo Martin 68-70-69, Moriya Jutanugarn (THA) 65-70-72, Paula Creamer 66-67-74

 ?? AFP ?? Ariya Jutanugarn plays a shot during the Volvik Championsh­ip.
AFP Ariya Jutanugarn plays a shot during the Volvik Championsh­ip.

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