Golf: Ariya in no rush to be top again

Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand waits to putt on the 15th green during the first round of the Meijer LPGA Classic.
Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand waits to putt on the 15th green during the first round of the Meijer LPGA Classic.PHOTO: AFP

World No. 2 amazed by Thais' support but says competition is stiffer on LPGA this year

LOS ANGELES • Thai golfer Ariya Jutanugarn says she will not put extra pressure on herself to regain the No. 1 world ranking she held for two weeks last month.

"To me, it's not that important, because of course everybody wants to be world No. 1," she said on Wednesday as she prepared for this week's Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic in Oneida, Wisconsin.

"I think the most important thing right now is just (to) go out and have fun and be happy on the course and make sure I have a really good commitment."

At No. 2 in the world, Ariya is the top-ranked player in the field for the inaugural edition of the tournament.

She arrived in Wisconsin after missing her first cut of the season at the Women's PGA Championship, where her six-over 77 in the opening round proved too much to overcome.

Ariya said she had found positives to take from that week, in particular her improvement to a 68 in the second round.

"I know I had a bad day on Thursday, but I had a really good day on Friday," she said. "I'm really proud of myself to be trying to do my best and play better golf on Friday and be working on the same things.

"Just like last week, I didn't really have good commitment, so this week just work on trying to have a better commitment."

The 21-year-old was hailed as a hero in Thailand after supplanting New Zealand's Lydia Ko atop the world rankings last month.

She did it in style, sinking a 25-foot birdie putt to win the Manulife LPGA Classic in a play-off.

But her reign was short, as South Korean Ryu So Yeon took over the top spot two weeks later.

"All the Thai people, they give me great support, even if I play bad or I play good," she said. "I'm pretty sure they love to see my world ranking be really good, but also, if not, I know they are going to give me full support."

While Ariya has nine top-10 finishes this season, including her Manulife win and three runner-up finishes, she says competition on the LPGA Tour this season is fierce.

"I think this year is really, really competitive," she said. "Even when I played great golf, I still finished second or third. But it's fun. It's more fun because a lot of girls start to play so good and they become amazing golfers."


Day 2: Singtel TV Ch114 & StarHub Ch208, tomorrow, 6am

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 07, 2017, with the headline 'Ariya in no rush to be top again'. Print Edition | Subscribe