Golf: Being calm the key to recent success, says Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn

Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand reacting after sinking her putt on the 18th green during the Canadian Pacific Women's Open final round on Sunday.
Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand reacting after sinking her putt on the 18th green during the Canadian Pacific Women's Open final round on Sunday.PHOTO: REUTERS

ALBERTA (Canada) • Ariya Jutanugarn was in a mess last season, when she missed 10 consecutive cuts.

But the Thai golfer has put the past behind her and has now won five trophies in her last 10 tee-offs on the LPGA Tour.

It has been a splendid transformation, with her latest victory coming at the Canadian Pacific Women's Open in Alberta on Sunday.

The 20-year-old had arrived in Calgary last week as the hottest golfer on the planet, albeit hobbled by a knee injury that forced her to withdraw during the third round of the Rio Olympics.

She certainly did not cool off over the week, romping to a four-stroke victory at Priddis Greens.

"After I won my first tournament, I feel like I reached my goal," Ariya said after she won the US$2.25 million (S$3 million) Canadian Open and collected a cheque for US$337,500 on Sunday.

"After that, I feel like I don't care what my ranking is going to be.

"I don't care if I'm going to win the tournament or not. The only thing I want to be is I really want to be happy on the course."

Her play in Canada must surely have made her happy, for the world No. 2 did not give her rivals much hope in the final round.

She mixed seven birdies and just one bogey at the Raven Course for a card of 66 and a four-day total of 23-under 265.

Ariya, who started the day with a two-shot lead over South Korea's Chun In Gee, credited her recent success to a new-found calmness on the course.

"No matter what's going to happen, I can handle it," she said.

South Korean Kim Sei Young (65) claimed second place on 269, with Chun (69) a shot further back in third.

Lydia Ko (69) came up short in her quest for a fourth victory in the event before the age of 20, as the Kiwi tied for seventh on 275.

Her world No. 1 ranking may not be safe for much longer given the recent form of Ariya, who did not have an LPGA victory until May.

The Thai then rattled off three successive wins.

"It was pretty big for us when she had her first win, because she had been working so hard for it," said Ariya's older sister Moriya, who is also an LPGA Tour regular but missed the cut at Priddis Greens.

"After that, it seems like it looks easier and easier for her because she's more comfortable with that position."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 30, 2016, with the headline 'Being calm the key to recent success, says Ariya'. Print Edition | Subscribe