Twenty-year-old Ariya Jutanugarn made history last month by being the first Thai golf player to win a major championship. This major title was earned at the RICOH Women’s British Open. She closed with an even-par 72 for a 16-under 272 total. This put her ahead of Mirim Lee and Mo Martin.
Her lead was as many as five strokes over the course of the round, positioning her ahead of Lee and Martin. However, at the turn, she began to struggle.
On her first shot of the day, she dropped behind at par 4, ninth hole. Then a double bogey at par 4, 13th hole propelled her within one position of contender Lee, which made her pull within one. But at par 3, 17th hole, she rebounded with a birdie. "I think I got mad after that hole," a laughing Jutanugarn said about the 13th hole. "My caddie helped me a lot. He tried to calm me down, slow me down. And after I make double, my fairway iron so good. I went -- I have more confidence because I commit and it come out really good."
“On 13, I’m like, ‘Oh, what’s wrong with me,’ ” Jutanugarn said. “But after that, I’m really patient and I can come back really good.” Then she actually did dig deep and, with a birdie on No. 17, moved ahead by two and won the event.
“Feels great,” she said. “After my first tournament on tour, my goal is I really want to win a major, and I did, so I’m very proud of myself.”
Jutanugarn started her final round within striking distance of the 19-under par Tournament reaching Karen Stupples record at the 2004 RICOH Women’s British Open.
The rookie player has learned a lot these past two years. In 2015, she started great on the LPGA tour, even reaching the playoff in her first event, but then had trouble midway through the season. On 2016, she came back a new and stronger player.