NEW YORK • Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn will become the first South-east Asian - male or female - to ascend to the top of the world golf rankings today.
Already the first golfer from the region to win a Major championship when she claimed the Women's British Open last year, she has now made more history without hitting a ball.
She displaced New Zealand's Lydia Ko, with neither hitting a club, after Ryu So Yeon missed the cut at the LPGA ShopRite Classic on Saturday to cement the shift.
The South Korean, ranked third in the world, had a chance to leapfrog Ariya by finishing third or better in the tournament in Galloway, New Jersey. But she fired back-to-back rounds of three-over 74 to miss the second-round cut in the 54-hole tournament.
Ariya becomes the 10th player to reach No. 1 since the women's rankings were introduced in 2006, after Annika Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa, Shin Ji Yai, Ai Miyazato, Cristie Kerr, Tseng Ya-ni, Stacy Lewis, Park In Bee and Ko, who was at the summit for the last 84 weeks.
Reaching the top of the rankings, which evaluate a player's performance over a rolling two-year period, was reward for Ariya's consistency and an outstanding 2016, when she was named LPGA Player of the Year.
The 21-year-old won five LPGA tournaments last year. While the Bangkok native is still seeking her first victory this season, she has posted three runner-up finishes in 12 starts.
She will tee off as No. 1 at this week's Manulife LPGA Classic at the Whistle Bear Golf Club.
South Korea's Kim In Kyung will be hoping to arrive in Ontario, Canada with a fifth LPGA title to her name.
She shared the 36-hole lead at the ShopRite Classic with American Paula Creamer on nine-under 133. Both shot 67s.
Kim closed her round with back-to-back birdies and said she is feeling "even stronger" after a winter spent recuperating from injuries suffered in a freak fall down some stairs. She has played just half a dozen tournaments this year, but said she has recovered well.
"This winter I didn't have any break, I needed some time to get ready for the summer," she said. "I'm really happy to get back."
Creamer posted five birdies and a bogey, and kept her share of the lead with an up and down for par at her final hole, the ninth - where her second shot landed left of the green and she took an unplayable lie.
The leading duo were two strokes in front of two-time defending champion Anna Nordqvist (71) of Sweden, South Korea's Lee Jeong Eun (70) and Moriya Jutanugarn (70) - Ariya's sister.