World No 5 Ariya and No 21 Moriya Jutanugarn are set to launch their 2018 seasons at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic from January 25 to 28 and on Monday night flew out of Bangkok for their final preparations in the US.
The two sisters, after almost two months at home, will test their mettle in the season-opening event, which offers a total prize money of US$1.4 million at the Ocean Club Golf Course.
While the siblings share the same goal of “enjoying their golf game and being proud of their day-by-day commitment”, the elder Moriya will be extra inspired to have a title breakthrough.
“One of the main goals is to win my first LPGA title. But I won’t let that get me under pressure,” said Moriya, who has been touted by the LPGA as one of the six likeliest players to claim their maiden title in 2018.
The elder Jutanugarn posted 11 top-10 finishes last year and came close to making a breakthrough win twice, finishing second at both the Arkansas Championship in June and the Blue Bay LPGA in August.
“I don’t think I have to change much technically. There are just a few minor things I have to fix. But the most important thing is to set a goal each day, try to achieve it and be proud of the outcome,” said the 23-year-old, who made the most birdies on the LPGA in 2017 with a total of 428.
Ariya, 21, had a roller-coaster year in 2017 – she became world No 1, then slipped down the rankings after missing six cuts before bouncing back to win the season-ending event in Florida.
“It was my most favourite year with some highs and lows. I learned that I play well when I enjoy the game,” said Ariya, who has bagged a total of seven LPGA titles, including the 2016 British Open.
“So my goal will remain the same – trying to have fun out there.”
After Bahamas, the two will enter the Australian Open from February 15 to 18 ahead of the home event Honda LPGA Thailand in Pattaya from February 22 to 25.