Ariya Jutanugarn claims back-to-back LPGA victories
Ariya Jutanugarn posted a second successive LPGA victory when she edged Australian Su Oh by one stroke at the Kingsmill Championship in Virginia on Sunday. Jutanugarn had blown a series of good winning chances until she broke through and claimed the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic in Alabama two weeks ago becoming the first Thai player to win on tour.
Bristling with confidence she followed up with an encore victory on the River Course at Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg. Her second win, she said, was "much easier" than her first, though it was not exactly a stroll in the park.
Jutanugarn sank a four-foot putt at the 17th to preserve her tenuous lead and then had to sweat over a five-foot par putt at the last to avoid a playoff. She coaxed it home to card 67 and finished at 14-under 270, while Oh (65) birdied the last with a 20-foot putt from off the back off the green to claim second place on 13-under, a day before her 20th birthday.
Jutanugarn, 20, continued the LPGA youth movement. All 13 tournaments this year have been won by players aged 23 or younger. Jutanugarn, whose sister Moriya also plays the LPGA Tour, admitted to feeling almost unbearable tension before her first victory but was calmer on Sunday.
"I didn't get nervous or excited until the last putt," she told reporters. My hands were shaking, but just a little bit, not like last tournament. Last tournament was so bad.
"I really wanted to win one tournament this year, and after I do that, I feel like I'm just going to take it and have fun."
Runner-up Oh had few complaints: "I knew I had to get off to a really good start, and I did," said Oh, who picked up five birdies on the front nine.
Oh was born in South Korea and moved to Australia at age seven, almost holed her approach shot at the last when her ball landed about a foot from the hole before skipping on beyond the green.
"I pulled the second shot a little bit, to be honest," she said.