Sunday, 24 June, 2018

Ariya survives rollercoaster round to win US Women's Open

Sarah Jane Smith Australian Sarah Jane Smith is the world number 97
Betsy Taylor | 07 June, 2018, 11:15

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Ariya Jutanugarn will take a commanding four-stroke lead into the final round of the U.S. Women's Open after a gruelling outing on Saturday. She led by seven shots coming into Sunday's championship round. I just have to do my best. I got mad a little bit about what happened in my back nine, but I decided I'd just make sure I'd do my best to every shot.

There is an admirable, broader ambition.

"I normally do that", Jutanugarn said.

She made five birdies in her first nine holes.

But Kim made another bogey at the 18th, and a fourth consecutive par was enough for Jutanugarn to add to her 2016 Women's British Open title. Her 10-under 134 is four shots clear of the field, with compatriot Su-Hyun Oh one of the two players at 6 under after shooting a second-round 68.

Jutanugarn hit her tee shot into the hazard on the 10th and then had a three-putt for a triple bogey.

The Thai had been leading by seven strokes with nine holes left but instead of marching to victory she stumbled into a tension-packed playoff. Instead, Jutanugarn prevailed at the fourth extra hole.

Ariya Jutanugarn suffered a back nine collapse before beating South Korean Kim Hyo-joo in a playoff at the U.S. Women's Open on Sunday.


Oh said her effort included "nothing outstanding" although she putted well and dealt calmly with the challenges of the soggy course. A long wait to tee off gave her time to collect herself and regain her composure.

"I started off quite a few strokes behind the leader, so I didn't really think that I was going to come through this much", Kim said.

"Honestly I tried to smile", she said. Then we have to do it.

"I wasn't hitting my irons like incredible but wasn't that far off, either".

This Sunday rather epitomised the peaks and troughs that Jutanugarn has sampled in a relatively short career. "It didn't have any height to it and then she hit a bad iron shot on two, a big pull-hook".

Joaquin Niemann, the 19-year-old from Chile, birdied the 18th hole to tie for sixth.

There's a charm in the childlike pranks she enjoys playing on her older sister, Moriya. "After she become world No1 last time she struggled", explained the Jutanugarn Snr. "It did not really enter my mind that I was going to come that close". She'd go on to win the CME.

Consistency in 2018 earned her $700,000 even before the $900,000 boost that comes with being crowned US Open champion. Nor was it the same player who squandered away a two-shot lead at the ANA Inspiration two years ago. The Korean had been a prolific victor in her homeland before taking seamlessly to the LPGA Tour.

"I've not been in this position before (in a major), but I feel comfortable on the greens here and hope tomorrow (Saturday) is like another day at the office".

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