Ariya becomes first Thai to win Honda LPGA tournament

Former women’s world number one golfer Ariya Jutanugarn became the first hometown hero to win the Honda Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Thailand tournament, followed by two other Thai golfers among the top three finishers.

Ariya made her debut on the LPGA tour at the Honda tournament over a decade ago as an amateur when she was just 11 years old. After turning professional, she won two majors and 11 tournaments overall and was named Rookie of the Year among eight other awards. Nonetheless, her victory in Thailand meant so much it had her shedding tears with joy.

“I have been waiting for so long, and finally I got it,” Ariya said.

The win broke a three-year drought for the former number one whose last tournament win came in Scotland in 2018. She said after last Sunday’s triumph that she had considered taking a break from professional golf.

“I had a really tough time the last two years. I want to rest; I want to stop for a while. But every time I looked at the kids, I wanted to give them inspiration, too,” Ariya said.

“I felt like, just do not give up, do your best, try harder, keep trying, and one day you will get it,” she added.

The win was even more impressive because Ariya began the final round five shots back of her compatriot Patty Tavatanakit, who recently won her first LPGA tournament. But Ariya’s score of 63 on Sunday propelled her into the lead. She finished with a total of 266 for the four days.

Patty finished tied for third place, and Atthaya Thitikul, also of Thailand, came in second to complete the Thai trifecta.

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