Ariya bounces back at Canadian Open

Ariya Jutanugarn lining up her putt on the eighth green during the second round of the Canadian Open. She leads the event by three shots.
Ariya Jutanugarn lining up her putt on the eighth green during the second round of the Canadian Open. She leads the event by three shots.PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES • Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn roared back to form with a superb eight-under 64 to claim a three-shot lead at the Canadian Pacific Women's Open on Friday.

The British Open champion had limped out of the Olympics last week after a knee injury derailed her bid for a medal after she had taken the first-round lead.

But the 20-year-old rediscovered her best form in sunny conditions at Calgary's Priddis Greens Golf and Country Club to storm to the top of the leader board.

The Thai, enjoying a breakthrough season with four victories and nine top-10 finishes, carded eight birdies and no bogeys in a flawless round which left her at 12 under for the tournament.

Ariya said her sore knee had improved gradually over the course of the week following her withdrawal in the third round in Rio.

"I'm okay. I wanted to see how I'm feeling. But after that, like on Monday, it didn't hurt that much and today it's better," she said.

South Korea's Chella Choi had started the day in sole possession of the lead, completing her weather-disrupted first round to finish with a seven-under 65.

But she was unable to build on her lead in a roller-coaster second round, notching four birdies and three bogeys to finish with a one-under 71, four off the lead.

South Korea's Chun In Gee was three behind Ariya on nine under after a see-saw five-under round which included an eagle, six birdies and three bogeys.

Northern Ireland's Stephanie Meadow - who lit up the first round with a 66 - was also three back after a second-round 69.

Five players finished the second round on eight under, four adrift of the lead. They included New Zealand's world No. 1 and defending champion Lydia Ko, who is gunning for her fourth victory in the tournament.

She had four birdies in a row between the ninth and 12th holes to move to nine under. But a bogey on the 14th checked her momentum.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 28, 2016, with the headline 'Ariya bounces back at Canadian Open'. Print Edition | Subscribe