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Fast start propels Ariya Jutanugarn to LPGA Thailand title

Ariya Jutanugarn wins 2021 Honda LPGA Thailand
Ariya Jutanugarn becomes 1st Thai player to win Honda LPGA Thailand.

Sparked by 3 birdies to start final round, Thai erases 5-stroke deficit and wins in her homeland, ending 3-year winless streak

Five strokes down to start the day, Ariya Jutanugarn made the sort of hot start that she needed to have a chance to win her hometown Honda LPGA Thailand event. Jutanugarn birdied her first three holes at Siam Country Club’s Pattaya Old Course near Pattaya City as she hit every fairway and green on a front-nine 30. The opening nine propelled her to a 9-under 63 and one-stroke victory over compatriot Atthaya Thitikul. (For scores, click here.)

The victory was the first title in nearly three years for Jutanugarn and the 11th of her career. She had won 10 times in three years, from 2016 to 2018, including two major championships.

Jutanugarn, the younger sister of LPGA player Moriya Jutanugarn, becomes the first Thai player to win the tour’s annual Thailand stop, which dates to 2006.

“It just feels so good, not only for Thai player to win, but I would say I have really tough time last two years,” said Jutanugarn, who qualified for this event in 2007 as an 11-year-old, the youngest player to compete on the LPGA. “I'm thinking about like, you know, I don't know how many times I told my psychology, like, you know, what I want to rest, no more. I want to stop for a while. Every time when I look at all the kids and I want them to give them inspiration. So, I feel like, you know what, don't give up. Do your best. Try harder. Keep trying. One day you will get it.”

Jutanugarn finished at 22-under 266. Thitikul, who bogeyed the par-4 17th hole, shot 68 for a 21-under 267 total. The runner-up finish was a career-best result for Thitikul, who has won five times on Thailand’s LPGA tour.

“This is like my new experience, having so pretty close with the win,” she said. “I'm already proud of myself that I am do the best that I can.”

Angel Yin shot 66 to finish as the top American, in a tie for fourth with South Koreans So Yeon Ryu (64), Amy Yang (64) and Thailand’s Patty Tavatanakit (70) at 20-under 268.

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