Friday October 12, 2012
Thailand’s Ariya eyes top 10 finish before turning pro
Thailand’s top amateur Ariya Jutanugarn would love to finish in the top 10 in her Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia debut.
It would also be a good way for her to end her amateur status as she turns pro in November.
The 17-year-old is ranked third in the world amateur rankings and is playing in the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia for the first time under a sponsor’s invite.
“This is a great tournament although I’ve played in an LPGA event in Thailand. It is also challenging when you go up against the best players.
“I will turn pro in November and it will be good to finish high up here in my debut season,” Jutanugarn said after finishing joint 15th with eight others in yesterday’s first round.
She finished with a score of two-under-69 to be the best-placed South-east Asian player.
She had birdies at the two par-five holes – the sixth and 12th.
Jutanugarn plays most of her golf in America but returns home when there are big tournaments.
“I am not based in America but travel to the tournaments. My plan next year is to play in the European circuit. I aim to get my playing card later this year. But the long-term plan is to be a regular in the LPGA,” she said.
She had also taken part in the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, finishing fourth.
In 2011, Jutanugarn picked up the American Junior Golf Association’s Rolex Junior Player of the Year award.
She created a record when she qualified for a Major – the Kraft Nabisco Championship – when she was 15 years old.
Jutanugarn was the only one out of six amateurs to make the cut for the final round and finished 25th.
The talented Thai is now eager to show what she can do at a higher level.
She is also happy with the course at the KL Golf and Country Club and hopes to keep pace with the stars as they head for the second round today.
“I played in Malaysia some years back and it is good to be back.
“This is yet another opportunity for me to play with the top players and gauge myself,” she said.
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