Ariya Jutanugarn sinks clutch putt for first LPGA victory

Sun May 8, 2016 5:53pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand overcame mental demons of previous meltdowns, if only barely, to claim a one-stroke victory at the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic in Alabama on Sunday.

Five weeks after throwing away the year's first major with a bogey, bogey, bogey finish at the ANA Inspiration, Jutanugarn was stricken again by nerves down the stretch.

But this time the 20-year-old from Bangkok managed to get across the finish line in front.

As her sister Moriya, who also plays the LPGA circuit, and mother watched at the final hole, Jutanugarn sank a clutch four-foot par putt for her first LPGA victory.

She carded 72 to finish at 14-under-par 274, while South Korean Amy Yang (67) and Americans Stacy Lewis (68) and Morgan Pressel (68) tied for second on 13-under on the Senator Course at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Prattville.

"I feel like the last three holes I can't control anything," an emotional Jutanugarn told Golf Channel as she stifled tears.

"My hands shake, my legs shake. I'm very proud right now."

The ANA Inspiration, where she finished fourth after holding a late two-shot lead, was not Jutanugarn's first collapse.

At the 2013 LPGA Thailand tournament in her homeland, she triple-bogeyed the final hole to lose by a shot.   Continued...

Apr 3, 2016; Rancho Mirage, CA, USA; Ariya Jutanugarn attempts a shot on the 15th hole during the final round of the ANA Inspiration tournament at Mission Hills CC - Dinah Shore Tournament Course. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports - RTSDF8T