Skip to main content

Ariya Jutanugarn's First LPGA Win

Ariya Jutanugarn is a first-time winner on the LPGA Tour after claiming victory at the 2016 Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic.

The win probably came a little later than it should have, which is a little odd to say about a 20-year-old. But Ariya's career was set back by an injury she suffered at the 2013 LPGA Championship.

At the 2016 Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic in Alabama, Jutanugarn began the final round with a 3-stroke lead. She ended it with a 1-stroke win over runners-up Morgan Pressel, Stacy Lewis and Amy Yang. Here's something I was surprised by: Jutanugarn is the LPGA's first-ever winner from Thailand.

Jutanugarn first gained notice at the tender age of 11 when she made it through a qualifier to play in the 2007 Honda LPGA Thailand. Ariya and her sister Moriya moved to the United States to play on the AJGA junior circuit, and Ariya was the Player of the Year in 2011 and 2012.

She turned pro at the end of 2012 and joined the Ladies European Tour as a rookie for the 2013 season. And she gave plenty of indication of victories to come early that year. Playing in the Honda LPGA Thailand, Ariya finished second to Inbee Park. At the next tournament, the HSBC Women's Champions, she was fourth. Those were both LPGA events. Back on the LET, Ariya recorded her first win as a pro golfer at the Lalla Meryem Cup.

Then the injury interfered. It was a shoulder injury she suffered chasing after her sister with a water bottle, hijinks that turned painful when Ariya slipped and fell down an incline.

It's pretty clear now that she is all the way back. And it should be pretty clear that this was just the first of what will be more wins for Ariya Jutanugarn.