Victory no link to major chances

Ariya Jutanugarn kissing the Scottish Open trophy after edging Minjee Lee by one shot.
Ariya Jutanugarn kissing the Scottish Open trophy after edging Minjee Lee by one shot.PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/MAYARIYA

Ariya world No. 1 again with Scotland win but plays down tag of favourite for British Open

LONDON • US Open champion Ariya Jutanugarn insisted that winning the women's Scottish Open and reclaiming the world No. 1 ranking did not make her a certainty to be a contender for this week's British Open.

The Thai posted a final round of five-under 66 for a total of 13 under at Gullane Golf Club on Sunday, ensuring that she is in good form heading into the year's fourth Major on Thursday at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club.

The 22-year-old phenomenon, who became the first Thai golfer to win a Major at the 2016 British Open, began the day tied for the lead with South Korea's Amy Yang and ended it a stroke clear of Australian Minjee Lee, who clung on tenaciously after also firing a 66.

"It means a lot to me, it's like a dream come true. I said this week to my caddie I want to win once on a links course and I did it and it is a dream come true," Ariya told LPGA.com on Sunday.

Ariya, however, warned that her victory on a links course did not mean that she will have it easy at the British Open.

"I feel like I'm pretty lucky this week and I don't know about next week. I know it's going to be tough next week and especially a Major, so I just need to work on the same stuff," she added.

"I will have to be patient. I have a pretty good feeling so I hope to play my A game next week."

Ariya's victory - her third this year and 10th Tour title - saw her go top of the world rankings yesterday for a second time in her career, having spent two weeks in top spot in June last year.

"It means a lot to be No. 1 but last time it didn't help me thinking about it too hard, so I am just going to work on my game," she added.

Yang, one of a plethora of Korean golfers in the mix, never got going and dropped away to finish tied for fifth on seven under after a 73 to put a dampener on the weekend of her 29th birthday.

Lee, 22, came agonisingly close to victory but she was not affected by her result, preferring to take in the positives.

"I was striking the ball pretty well and putting probably the best I have out of the last three days, four days," Lee told LPGA.com.

"Overall, it was a good week and I'm looking forward to next week."

South Korean duo Ko Jin-young (67) and Kang Hae-ji (69) shared third place on eight under.

American Tiffany Joh, who set the pace for the first two rounds before failing to cope at all with the gusting wind while shooting 80 on Saturday, rebounded slightly to finish tied for eighth on five under with a final-round 70.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 31, 2018, with the headline 'Victory no link to major chances'. Print Edition | Subscribe