Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand with the trophy after sinking her birdie putt on the 1st playoff hole to win during the final round of the Manulife LPGA Classic at Whistle Bear Golf Club on June 11, 2017 in Cambridge, Canada. Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images/
Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand with the trophy after sinking her birdie putt on the 1st playoff hole to win during the final round of the Manulife LPGA Classic at Whistle Bear Golf Club on June 11, 2017 in Cambridge, Canada. Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images/

Brilliant Ariya on top of world with Manulife Classic win

sports June 12, 2017 06:07


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TORONTO, Canada, June 11, 2017 - Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn drained a 25-foot birdie putt to win the Manulife LPGA Classic in a three-way playoff Sunday, guaranteeing her ascent to the world number one ranking.

Her dramatic win at Whistle Bear Golf Club in Cambridge, Ontario came after rival Lexi Thompson stumbled with four bogeys on the back nine which saw a four-shot lead evaporate.

On the first playoff hole, Thompson looked to have recovered her composure when she crushed a long tee shot 50 yards further than Ariya and South Korea's Chun In-Gee.

Ariya, who had underhit her tee shot into the fairway rough, hit her second onto the green.

Both Chun and Thompson then missed long birdie putts leaving Ariya with her shot at glory which she duly converted.

The result capped a rollercoaster week for the 21-year-old from Bangkok, who had wrongly been informed by the LPGA last week that she had taken the world number one ranking.

The LPGA later revealed she had not in fact taken the top spot from New Zealand's Lydia Ko because of a rankings miscalculation.

Thompson meanwhile was left reflecting on her third defeat in a playoff this season after she looked to be cruising to her second title of the year.

Thompson, 22, had opened up a four-shot lead by the 11th hole.

But back-to-back bogeys on the 12th and 13th holes gave her rivals hope before Thompson recovered with a birdie on the par-four 15th.

However a three-putt on the par-three 17th set up a tense finale with Thompson one shot clear.

After making the green in regulation, the American was left with two putts to win.

But her birdie putt rolled up short, leaving her with a four-footer for victory which she then missed, setting up the playoff drama.

Ariya had entered the playoff after a three-under-par final round 69 while Chun forced her way into contention with a two-under-par 70.

Here are interview transcripts with Ariya Jutanugarn

Moderator: Ariya, tears in your eyes as you hoisted the trophy. What was going through your mind?

ARIYA JUTANUGARN: I just can't believe I win the tournament. I didn't expect anything at all, because like when I got here I didn't feel comfortable with my swing. I didn't feel like -- my tee shot not that good. I feel like just go out and play golf for four days.

It's like surprise for me. I never think I can win here.

THE MODERATOR: Your first playoff victory. Can you describe the feeling of coming down 18 with Lexi and In Gee?

ARIYA JUTANUGARN: I had playoff like few time, I think, and this time I'm not nervous. I'm not excited. I'm excited, but I'm not nervous at all I think because I didn't expect anything.

I'm just going to, okay, go out, make sure I commit with every shot I hit, and that's it.

THE MODERATOR: Last year you won five times; this is your first win of the season. Just describe what you're feeling.

ARIYA JUTANUGARN: Feel great. Feel like I breakthrough. I feel like I wait for my first win this year for a while.

THE MODERATOR: Couple runner ups, though. Does this feel like a long time coming for you?

ARIYA JUTANUGARN: It is. When I finish second it doesn't mean I didn't play good. I do my best. I play good. Just some player play better than me.


Q. With your success you're likely going to No. 1. Thoughts on that achievement.

ARIYA JUTANUGARN: I think I feel it on Monday. To be honest, I didn't pay attention with the ranking. I only want to go out and have fun.

I think next week goal going to be the same.

Q. You birdied 12 and then parred in from there. Did you think, Well, couldn't get anything going the last six holes, not likely to win, so were you a bit more surprised with the result?

ARIYA JUTANUGARN: Yeah, so I hit my iron not really good in last six hole. I think I miss the every green. It's amazing for me because I have like up and down in like every hole, and it's kind of surprise for me.

Q. It was tough conditions with the wind today. You only made one birdie. What was key to you playing such a solid round in tough conditions?

ARIYA JUTANUGARN: To me, I just go out and today is really windy and pretty hard to make birdie and even hit on the green. I'm just make sure I'm committed every shot and go out and have fun.

Q. Can you take us through the final putt to win, what you were reading there on that?

ARIYA JUTANUGARN: I think it's right to left, so I go like one foot right to left uphill. I just tell myself, Make sure don't leave it short, because on my 18 hole I leave it short and I got like so pissed off because I leave it short.

I'm like, Okay, if I'm going to miss it, make sure it's past the hole.

Q. How long was the putt approximately? Any idea?

ARIYA JUTANUGARN: 25 feet. I'm not sure. I'm really bad with the distant.

THE MODERATOR: Any other questions?

Q. Did you know right away it was a good putt?

ARIYA JUTANUGARN: I know it's good putt; I didn't know it's going to go in.

Q. After 18, you and In Gee were sitting on the scores area of the chair taking selfies. Were you trying to keep yourself nice and relaxed.

ARIYA JUTANUGARN: Yeah, because I think when I'm there I feel we are rooting for Lexi because she just have to make par to win, and we pretty sure she going up to make par.

But anything can happen. We be there not only wait for playoff, but there for like rooting for her.

Q. Does the win give you some confidence going through the rest of the season?

ARIYA JUTANUGARN: I hope so, yeah.

THE MODERATOR: I know your sister and mom aren't here, but I know you rushed right to your phone. What are the texts you're reading right now?

ARIYA JUTANUGARN: I think like when I make the putt, like my last putt, they just text me like Congrat and you know. I'm going to text them back and like Thanks for your support. You're not here with me.

Q. Obviously you have broken through over the past couple years. Just wondering what would your advice be for the ten-year-old you to get to that level you're at right now?

ARIYA JUTANUGARN: I think like follow your dream and never give up. That's the key for me.

THE MODERATOR: What are your celebration plans tonight?

ARIYA JUTANUGARN: We have to drive to t Grand Rapids, so my caddie going to drive and I'm going to sleep.

THE MODERATOR: Any other questions? Okay. Thank you and congratulations.

ARIYA JUTANUGARN: Thank you. (Applause.)

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