World No 2 Ariya Jutanugarn drew inspiration from the Tiger Woods’s win at The Masters as she and two fellow Thais carded an opening 67 to fall four shots behind the lead in the Lotte Championship in Kapolei on Thursday.
The former World No. 1, Ariya admits that she’s been having a rocky start to the 2019 season, posting only one top 10 finish (tied eighth) at the February’s HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore from six starts this year.
After a successful season of three LPGA Tour wins, including a major (U.S. Women’s Open), sweeping all the LPGA’s major awards, including the ANNIKA Major Award and the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the 23-year-old Thai drew much inspiration from Tiger Woods’ win at the Masters.
“To watch him come back and win the Masters after a lot of things happened in his life, it’s just so inspiring to me in so many ways,” said Ariya.
“Especially right now, I’m struggling right now mentally and I saw him fighting, I told myself, ‘just wake up, fight everyday and take action, try to do something to improve everyday.”
The Thai shot a 5-under-par 67 in Round 1 of the LOTTE Championship and is currently tied for seventh with nine other players including her sister Moriya and unfancied Patcharajutar Kongkraphan.
Three other Thais also had an impressive start as each shot a 68, six of the pace. They were Pavarisa Yoktuan, Tour rookie Pajaree Anannarukarn and long-time LPGA member Pornanong Phatlum.