Ariya Jutanugarn wins player of the year
There was much on the line at the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Florida on Sunday. Not only was the tournament up for grabs, there was a two-way battle for player of the year and money title. Number one player in the world, Lydia Ko and number two, Ariya Jutanugarn battled it out, with Ko appearing to have the advantage at the halfway point of the event.
Ko lead Jutanguarn by eight strokes after 36 holes, but Ariya Jutanugarn played excellent golf on the weekend, while uncharacteristically for Ko, fell back and was a non-factor come Sunday afternoon. Jutanugarn finished five shots behind winner Charley Hull, but her 14-under par, tied for fourth finish was enough to claim the CME Race to the Globe, Player of the Year and money title.
Ariya Jutanugarn, in only her second season on the LPGA Tour, won five times this season, including a major championship. She had an incredible three tournament winning streak ad the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic, Kingsmill Championship and the LPGA Volvik Championship. Her other two victories came at the RICOH Women’s British Open and the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open.
Adding to her list of accomplishments this season, Jutanugarn set a record for most birdies in a season and had an additional 10 top ten finishes on tour. All this just a year after Jutanugarn missed ten consecutive cuts on tour.
Ariya Jutanugarn not only made herself and her family proud, but also the entire country of Thailand, who never had a major championship winner, male or female, before her win this season.
Next for Jutanugarn is her quest in 2017 to become number one player in the world. Her battle with Lydia Ko is likely to be monumental and worth waiting for, beginning in January of next year.