Ariya Jutanugarn became the first golfer from Thailand, woman or man, to win a golf major and there could be more to follow because she’s only 20.
Jutanugarn claimed her fourth LPGA Tour victory of the season by shooting even-par 72 in the final round to beat and Mirim Lee of South Korea and Mo Martin by three strokes in the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Woburn Golf Club in Milton Keynes, England.
“I think it’s really important for me and for Thai golf, also,” said Jutanugarn, who held a six-stroke lead midway through the final round. “Like my goal, I really want to win a major and I did. I’m really proud of my achievement because I accomplished my goal this year.”
Lee made a run with three straight birdies early in the back nine and when Jutanugarn carded a double-bogey 6 on the 13th hole. The lead was still one when Jutanugarn gave herself some breathing room with a 20-foot birdie putt on the 17th and Lee made a bogey on the final hole to close with a 73.
“I really had fun,” said Lee, who shot tied the tournament record with a 62 in the first round. “That was the most important thing. I had fun throughout the whole thing.”
Martin, who the 2014 British Women’s Open champion, finished with a 70.
Stacy Lewis, who won this tournament in 2013, carded a 70 to finish five shots back in fourth, while three-time winner Karrie Webb of Australia and Ha Na Jang of South Korea recorded 71s and were seven strokes behind in a tie for fifth with Catriona Matthew of Scotland, the 2009 champion, who totaled 73.
Lexi Thompson shot 72 to tie for eight, another shot back, with South Koreans In Gee Chun and So Yeon Ryu, who both came in at 70.
Top-ranked Lydia Ko of New Zealand closed with a 74 and tied for 40th.