Published: Tue, June 13, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Jutanugarn beats Thompson, Chun in playoff at LPGA Classic

Jutanugarn beats Thompson, Chun in playoff at LPGA Classic

Winners include LPGA Volvik champion Shanshan Feng, LOTTE Champion Cristie Kerr, ShopRite LPGA Classic victor In-Kyung Kim, Kia Classic champion Mirim Lee, Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic victor Brittany Lincicome, Volunteers of America Texas Shootout champion Haru Nomura and HSBC Women's champion Inbee Park.

"When I got here, I didn't feel comfortable to hit the golf ball and [was] scared to hit my tee shot". While it was her best finish yet at Whistle Bear, the 19-year-old is experiencing a lacklustre sophomore season on tour when compared with her sensational rookie campaign that had three tournament wins - including a major.

The 21-year-old, who earned $255,000 of the $1.7m purse for the victory, is now expected to move up in the rankings to become the world's No 1 women's player.

Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn is the new women's world No 1 - and this time it's official.

Ariya, who had under-hit her tee shot into the fairway rough, hit her second onto the green.

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"I am going to keep my game sharp the next couple of days but it's not looking good", he said.

Jutanugarn is the 13th different victor on the LPGA Tour this season. Her four bogeys on the back nine at Whistle Bear Golf Club included a particularly ugly three-putt on the 18 - she missed a 4-foot par putt that would've clinched the title.

Lexi Thompson shot a 67 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead after the third-round of the Manulife LPGA Classic with a 17-under 199 total. I had like a five-footer, six-footer, and about a four-footer and missed them all. Last week: I.K. Kim won the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

Thompson leads fellow-American Lindy Duncan, who now stands in second place with a 67, while South Korea's In Gee Chun (68) is in third place. Lee Mi Hyang (68) and Laura Gonzalez Escallon (67) were at 14 under.

Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., the most accomplished and recognizable Canadian LPGA player of the past year, began Sunday tied for 14th. "Obviously, I'm a little bit disappointed, but T11, I can't complain too much".

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"I think the event is awesome, especially for like girls to come out and be able to watch us play, seeing other fellow Canadians, watching them play out here, and so close to home and they're able to get there", said Orangeville, Ontario's Brittany Marchand.

However, a three-putt on the par-three 17th set up a tense finale with Thompson one shot clear. She had a double bogey on her final hole and finished seven strokes back after a 76.

Victory erased all doubts over whether she would be South-east Asia's first top-ranked golfer. She said she has switched putters six times this season and may do so again, searching for a spark.

Ariya is not due to return to Thailand until December when the season is over. If no one steps in to sponsor the event, that will mean there is only one LPGA Tour tournament in the country, the Canadian Open.

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