Ariya Jutanugarn becomes LPGA Tour's first Thai winner
PRATTVILLE, Ala. (AP) Ariya Jutanugarn held on to become the first Thai winner in LPGA Tour history, closing with a 1-under 71 on Sunday in the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic.
The 20-year-old Jutanugarn player beat Amy Yang, Morgan Pressel and Stacy Lewis by a stroke after losing two shots off her third-round lead.
Jutanugarn had four birdies and three bogeys a day after tying the tournament record with a 63, but didn't repeat two previous failed attempts to keep a Sunday lead.
The long-hitter gave cheering fans a wave and smile as she approached the final green, chipping to 5 feet to set up a par putt. Jutanugarn finished at 14-under 273 on the Senator Course at Capitol Hill.
Yang bogeyed the 17th in a 67. Lewis shot her third straight 68. Pressel also had a 68.
Lewis had her 10th runner-up finish in a 49-event drought. The 11-time tour winner has 23 career second-place finishes.
Jutanugarn two-putted from about 8 feet on 17, dropping a stroke from her lead with Lewis and Pressel on the final hole and Yang waiting and hoping to make a playoff.
Jutanugarn's drive on the final hole went into the left rough and her second shot didn't make the green but landed above the bunker.
She smiled and waved to the fans as she approached and, without hesitating over the ball, chipped it on to set up the par putt.
There was plenty of drama but no ending collapse this time. Last month in the ANA Inspiration, she had a two-stroke lead with three holes left and closed with three bogeys to finish fourth - two strokes behind winner Lydia Ko in the major championship. In the 2013 LPGA Thailand at age 17, Jutanugarn blew a two-stroke lead with a closing triple bogey in a one-stroke loss to Inbee Park.
She handled the pressure from an array of challengers better this time.
Pressel had drained a birdie putt on 18 to remain in contention, pumping her fist as the ball rolled toward the hole. Lewis saved par after planting her tee shot into the left rough, some 180 yards from the hole.
Caroline Hedwall was fifth at 12 under after a 68. The 19-year-old Minjee Lee, who won at Hawaii last month, was among four players three strokes back after a roller-coaster 72. She was 4 over through the first four holes, including a double bogey on the fourth - and added another double on 17. She eagled the par-5 10th and had four birdies.
Yang started a string of four birdies on No. 2 and got another one on 8 before losing a stroke with a bogey.
Yang parred the final hole following a bogey-birdie-bogey stretch.