Reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion Ariya Jutanugarn did more than win a golf tournament on the eve of the fourth major championship of the season.
By claiming the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open at Gullane Golf Club on Sunday, the 22-year-old from Thailand is expected to overtake two-time U.S. Women’s Open champion Inbee Park in the Rolex Rankings as the No. 1 player in the world on Monday.
Jutanugarn became the third U.S. Women’s Open champion to win the Ladies Scottish Open, joining Alison Nicholas and Laura Davies. She is the only one of the trio to win both titles in the same year.
Jutanugarn also held the No. 1 spot for a two-week period in June 2017, but she struggled in that role the last time, missing the cut in the season’s four remaining major championships, including the U.S. Women’s Open at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J.
Jutanugarn has bounced back to earn three victories in 2018, including her four-hole playoff win in June at Shoal Creek over Hyo-Joo Kim of the Republic of Korea.
On Sunday, Jutanugarn carded a final-round, 5-under 66 on the windy links of Gullane to defeat 2012 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion Minjee Lee by one stroke. This week, she heads to Royal Lytham & St. Annes to try for her second Ricoh Women’s British Open title and third major championship victory. Jutanugarn's 2016 Women's British Open title came at Woburn Golf & Country Club, a parkland layout 50 miles northwest of central London.
“It means a lot to me to win the tournament," Jutanugarn said after her win. "I told the caddie this week, you know, what I really want is to win on a links course, even one time in my life will be good, so right now this is my dream come true.”
I.K. Kim, the 2005 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion, finished seventh, while two-time U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links champion Tiffany Joh tied for eighth.