Golfer Ariya Jutanugarn retakes world number one ranking

Thailand’s top woman golfer Ariya Jutanugarn is on top of the world this week, having retaken the world number one ranking on the Ladies Professional Golf Tour following her victory at the Scottish Open, with Golf Digest magazine saying she has an excellent chance to become the dominant player on the women’s tour.

The victory made Ariya “the favorite by far” to win this week’s Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham and St. Annes, according to The Golf Channel cable network. She demonstrated in Scotland that she has learned how to excel on a links golf course, common in Great Britain but virtually nonexistent in North America and Asia. She had struggled in previous tournaments on links courses.

Ariya is gunning for her third major tournament victory, having prevailed at the Ladies United States Open in June and won the British Open two years ago on a parkland course at Woburn.

She is the first Thai golfer to win a major tournament, the first Thai to win on the LPGA Tour and the first Thai to be ranked world number one. Her older sister Moriya won her first LPGA tournament earlier this season. Ariya’s elevation in the Rolex rankings is her second stint in the top slot. She unseated Lydia Ko in 2017, but only held the title for a few weeks as distractions dented her performance.  So she went back to the drawing board to strengthen her game and mental discipline.

Having tasted success, she said she was determined to recapture the number one ranking.  Many among the golf media believe she has the right stuff to remain a leading force on the tour.

“For much of this season on the LPGA Tour, parity has been the driving storyline, a different player winning nearly every week,’’ wrote Golf Digest magazine. “If there is one player, though, who might rise above the sea of talent and begin to take control, it’s Ariya Jutanugarn.

“With her one-shot win over Minjee Lee on Sunday at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open, the 22-year-old from Thailand notched her third victory of the year, and the 10th of her career,’’ the magazine said.

Fox Sports described her as more mature and disciplined than in previous years. “There has never been more depth to the women’s game – 18 different players won in the first 20 events on the LPGA Tour this season – yet it feels like the 22-year-old Jutanugarn is still standing out above the rest,’’ Fox wrote.

“I feel more comfortable,” Ariya said about competing on a links course while admitting they are not her favorite type to play. “I think this type of golf course might not be the one that I say, `Oh, I love this one.’ But I’m getting better,” she said. Hopefully, that will help her at the British Open.