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Ariya Jutanugarn Gifts Inbee Park Victory at LPGA Thailand
Ariya Jutanugarn experienced the highs and lows of golf as she fired a hole-in-one at the Honda LPGA Thailand event before blowing the tournament with a triple-bogey at the last.
Having led overnight by three shots, Ariya, playing on a sponsors invite, showed few signs of nerves as she battled the game's elite, including world number one Yani Tseng, on a pressure-filled Sunday in Thailand.
Standing on the 12th tee, she fired her approach to the par three and gasped with joy as the ball had just enough pace to trickle into the cup and take her back in front on 14 under for the tournament.
Ariya extended her advantage with a birdie at the 13th but dropped a shot on the next hole before regaining her composure with three straight pars to leave her standing on the par-five 18th two ahead of Tseng and four ahead of eventual winner Inbee.
Despite being 17 and a Ladies European Tour rookie, Jutanugarn was expected to close out victorious at Siam Country Club’s Pattaya Course where she first played this event on a sponsor exemption in 2007 at the age of 11.
On the verge of becoming the first Thai to win an LPGA event Jutanugarn found a greenside bunker, took an unplayable, then blasted her shot over the green. Her chip came up short, and it took her three putts from there to find the hole for triple-bogey 8 to lose to Park by one shot.
The teenager was left in tears as her putt to force a playoff lipped out but recovered to say “It was a great experience,” “It’s not like I just played not very good, she played very good today, and I just say congrats to Inbee. She’s a very nice player.”