Ariya makes it 15 different winners in 15 events

Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand hits her tee shot on the fourth hole during the third and final round of the Kingsmill Championship on Sunday. She birdied the second play-off hole to beat Japan's Nasa Hataoka and clinch the title.
Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand hits her tee shot on the fourth hole during the third and final round of the Kingsmill Championship on Sunday. She birdied the second play-off hole to beat Japan's Nasa Hataoka and clinch the title.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WASHINGTON • Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn made it 15 different winners in 15 events on the LPGA Tour this year when she triumphed in a three-way play-off at the Kingsmill Championship in Virginia on Sunday.

In a magnificent display of pressure putting, the world No. 6 rolled in a 12-foot birdie at the second extra hole to beat Japan's Nasa Hataoka after the pair had eliminated South Korean Chun In Gee with matching birdies at the first extra hole.

On the opening sudden-death hole, the 22-year-old had also drained a similar-length birdie putt to stay in the hunt, knowing that a mistake would leave Hataoka with a six-foot putt for the title.

Ariya shot a closing five-under 66 for a 14-under 199 total in a tournament shortened to 54 holes due to severe disruption from wet weather over the opening three days. Hataoka carded 67 while Chun signed for a 68.

Ariya said she had adopted a fatalistic approach to the final round.

"I did not feel that much pressure because I did a great job today. So whether I'm going to win or lose, I'm very proud of that," Ariya added. It was her eighth Tour title.

It is also the first time since 1991 that the season has gone so long without a repeat champion, according to the LPGA Tour.

The former world No. 1 became the second Thai winner on the LPGA Tour this year after her older sister Moriya, 23, claimed the LA Open last month.

South Korea remains the dominant nation on the LPGA circuit with four wins this season, while three have been claimed by Americans.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 22, 2018, with the headline 'Ariya makes it 15 different winners in 15 events'. Print Edition | Subscribe