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Ariya wins Kingsmill tournament on second play-off hole

GOLF: Ariya Jutanugarn returned to her winning ways yesterday (May 20) with a victory on the second play-off hole at the Kingsmill Championship.

By Bangkok Post

Monday 21 May 2018, 09:47AM

Ariya ‘Nong May’ Jutanugarn hits her tee shot yesterday (May 20) on the fourth hole on her way to a top finish at the Kingsmill Championship on the River Course at Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Virginia. Photo: AFP

Ariya ‘Nong May’ Jutanugarn hits her tee shot yesterday (May 20) on the fourth hole on her way to a top finish at the Kingsmill Championship on the River Course at Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Virginia. Photo: AFP

“Nong May” finished the rain-shortened, three-day tournament with scores of 66, 67 and 66. She wound up in a three-way tie for first place with Nasa Hataoka of Japan and South Korean In Gee Chun.

The 22-year-old Thai star twice in a row drained 20-foot birdie putts to win the play-off.

The tournament used only one hole for the play-off, the par-4 18th.

The Korean was eliminated on the first play-off hole, where she shot a par-4, compared with Ariya and Hataoka who each had birdies.

The two survivors then returned to the tee for the second play-off hole.

Ariya shot birdie again, while Hataoka could manage only par, and the tournament was over.

“I didn’t feel that much pressure because I did a great job today,” Ariya said. “So whether I’m going to win or lose, I’m very proud of that.”

Canada’s Brooke Henderson finished a shot behind the three Asians in fourth place despite firing 65 yesterday, the best score of the day. Americans Megan Khang and Austin Ernst finished fifth and sixth respectively.

Apart from Ariya’s win, the welcome news of the day was the performance of Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong. Ever so quietly, she has plugged away in her maiden year on the LPGA tournament, and yesterday she snagged her best-ever finish, in seventh place.

The Khon Kaen native improved each day, with rounds of 70, 68 and 66.

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Ariya, who had finished the second round two shots off the lead, produced a blistering final round 66 to earn a spot in the play-off. The Thai star launched her charge with four birdies over the front nine.

Two more birdies on the 10th and 11th holes put her two clear with seven to play but a bogey on the par-five 15th left her clinging to a one-shot lead at 14 under.

Hataoka, 19, forced her way into the play-off after a bogey-free four-under par 67 in her final round, notching a birdie on the 15th to move to 14 under and into a tie with Ariya.

Chun, meanwhile, ensured she would have a chance of playing for the title after a birdie on the penultimate hole of her final round for a three-under-68.

All three women headed to the par-four 18th for the opening hole of the play-off, and Hataoka appeared to have seized the initiative with a brilliant second shot to six feet.

But Ariya’s long-range birdie left the Japanese needing to roll in her effort to take it back to the 18th tee, which she duly did. Chun was ousted after missing her birdie putt.

Ariya fired her second shot to almost the same area of the 18th green, while Hataoka was left with an awkward putt from the fringe.

The Japanese teenager’s putt rolled past by six feet and Ariya then took full advantage of the opening to stroke home her winning birdie.

Read original story here.



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