Newsflash: the world's number one female golfer will not win the 2019 ISPS Handa Women & # 39; s Australian Open at The Grange Golf Club. Not even in the neighborhood. When Ariya Jutanugarn took her third round 72 with a routine par-4 she was barely visible, with a shared 50th place on a shared line for the 54-holes that were played.
All this was the result of a round with a remarkable mix of breathtaking recordings – no one in the ladies' game can compress the ball just like the 23-year-old Thai – and, according to her, a number of uncharacteristic carelessnesses.
"It was a little up and down," she sighed. "I've missed a few greens when I should not have done that, but on the whole it was pretty good, this is only my second tournament of the year, and a new golf course for me, so I'll keep working and hope I'll I work on my bet for every shot I did not play a lot I did not do much in the three weeks after my last event When I came here it was like I had to start over again. engagement, so everything is new. "
Well, almost everything. The familiar golf fan of the last few years is immediately familiar with the enormous length that Jutanugarn generates with a set of clubs that does not contain a driver or one of the hybrids that populate just about every other bag on the LPGA Tour. The only wood she uses has a number "3" on the bottom and her only other head cover conceals a 2-iron – a club that is rarely seen in the modern ladies' game.
Next to Brittany Altomare from the United States, who, although desperately wounded, shot 69, Jutanugarn regularly hit the longer tee-shot. That is why the driver remains in her locker. Simply put, she does not have to get out of his long hibernation. Although the idea that she leaves much of her natural side is difficult to get away with.
"I was not inclined to bring my driver out," she confirms. "In this course I do not need it, so I did not want to wear it, I think that the most important key for me this year is that I never think of the outcome, I want to be a happy golfer. like every moment in my life, and that's like who I want to be. "
Such a philosophy is difficult to argue. And it seems to work, in contrast to the experience Jutanugarn had to endure in 2017 when they first rose to the number one slot. That performance was immediately followed by five missed austerity and a premature withdrawal. On the other hand, the former champion of the American Junior Girls was clearly the dominant figure on a 2018 LPGA Tour that nevertheless produced 26 different winners. Three times she tasted victory, including a hard-earned victory at the US Women's Open, losing a lead of seven shots before eventually winning the four-hole play-off with Kim Hyo-Joo from the Republic of Korea
"I am really proud of myself, because I am still fighting," she said. "Even though I have really bad back nine, but my play-off I fight every battle, and I've learned a lot, I feel like I won with five strokes, I will not learn anything, but this week I learned a lot."
Indeed, it was something of a ground-breaking victory, one that brought a stubborn heart and a clear thinking to light as equals of all-astonishing physical abilities. In other words, Jutanugarn was confirmed as the complete golfer.
Yet winning the biggest event in women's golf was just the highlight of an impressive season. In 2018 Jutanugarn won the season-long Race to the CMB Globe and a bonus of $ 1 million. Not surprisingly, she was the LPGA player of the year and won the Vare Trophy with an average score of 69,415 – she made 57 laps in the 60s and made 470 birdies. In total, she collected 17 top ten finishes and topped the list of earnings of $ 2,743,949. That was almost $ 1.2 million ahead of runner-up Minjee Lee.
But those figures and statistics are not the most impressive aspect of Jutanugarn's rise to the top of the ladies' game. For that you have to see her swing up close and enjoy the sound that is generated at the moment the club meets the ball. Only then can full appreciation of her talent be achieved. The trajectory and penetration flight of the images are things of beauty to enjoy.
So yes, Jutanugarn will be a relatively anonymous "dew sweeper" in the last round of this championship. But she is well worth getting up early on Sunday morning and making a trip to The Grange, if only to hear that characteristic "crunch" at impact. Just a brilliant player.