Published: Thu, June 07, 2018
Sport | By Floyd Cook

Jutanugarn wins Open with extra work

Jutanugarn wins Open with extra work

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The 22-year-old Jutanugarn led by four coming into the final round at Shoal Creek.

So do Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott, the Vision 54 coaches who work with her. The record for the biggest final round deficit overcome is five strokes.

Ariya Jutanugarn parred the fourth playoff hole to beat Kim Hyo Joo for the 73rd US Women's Open title on Sunday (June 3) and become the first player from Thailand to lift the trophy.

Jutanugarn bogeyed the final two holes, sending the championship to a playoff. She finished as the runner-up. I feel comfortable on the greens which has been something that has been a little bit off laterally. Somehow, she kept her cool.

Speaking after her win, Jutanugarn said: "I'm really honoured to join the list of players before me".

The victory was Jutanugarn's second in three weeks and her second major championship.

"I feel like I have these situations a lot in my life", Jutanugarn said.

Smith began the day alongside Ariya Jutanugarn and Jeongeun6 Lee at the top of the leaderboard.

She made her fifth birdie of the day at the ninth but drove into the trees and ran up a triple bogey at the 10th, before dropping another shot when she failed to find the green in regulation at the 12th. Back-to-back bogeys to close from the Thai, for an 11 under par aggregate, conceded the two-stroke lead restored at the 16th and meant the play-off which all onlookers, in reality, expected her to lose.

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Jutanugarn, however, hit a great bunker shot.

Had the USGA made a decision to utilize a sudden-death format from the start of the playoff, Kim would have emerged victorious.

South Korea's Kim closed with a five-under 67 to force the playoff and had two long putts to win in the extra session but couldn't get them to fall.

She did well to hole from eight feet to salvage a bogey and then stripe a confident long-iron down the centre of the fairway at the last just as Kim nailed a tricky six-footer for par to cap a bogey-free 67.

Jutanugarn had an opening birdie to move to 6 under through eight holes.

Tiger Woods hit the ball well enough to be up there with them at Muirfield Village, except for missing five putts inside 7 feet.

Duane Smith is the only caddie Sarah Jane has known and he has been at her side every step of the way, on and off the course, since she turned pro in 2004.

"After you have a seven-shot lead and end up with you having to go to a playoff, I had no expectations", she said.

But things were about to get rough in a hurry.

Ariya used her prodigious power to muscle her favorite three-wood tee shots past Smith's drives with regularity, and displayed a deft short game in a round that included only one blemish, a bogey at the par-three 16th.

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