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Ariya Jutanugarn wins Women's British Open

Ariya Jutanugarn, 20, gets drenched with water by sister Moriya Jutanugarn after her Women’s British Open victory.

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Ariya Jutanugarn, 20, gets drenched with water by sister Moriya Jutanugarn after her Women’s British Open victory.

MILTON KEYNES, England — Ariya Jutanugarn was flirting with another Sunday meltdown, her six-stroke lead down to one after double bogey on the par-4 13th at tree-lined Woburn.

Her late collapse in the ANA Inspiration nearly as recent as her three straight LPGA Tour victories, the 20-year-old Thai player held on to win the Women's British Open for her first major title.

"I think everything in the past is good for me, because I learned a lot from that," Jutanugarn said. "I know how to come back. I know how to be, like, patient. Feels like everybody (is) going to have bad times in their life, and I think I have that already."

Jutanugarn played the final five holes in 1 under for even-par 72 and a three-stroke victory over American Mo Martin and South Korea's Mirim Lee. The winner finished at 16-under 272 on the Marquess Course, the hilly forest layout that is a big change from the usual seaside layouts in the tournament rotation.

The long hitter left her driver out of the bag and hammered 3-wood and 2-iron off the tee.

"It's in my locker. Hope nobody steals it," she said.

In April at the ANA in the California desert, Jutanugarn — at the time best known for blowing a two-stroke lead with a closing triple bogey at age 17 in the 2013 LPGA Thailand — bogeyed the final three holes to hand the major title to Lydia Ko.

"After ANA, I'm still really nervous," Jutanugarn said. "But I'm pretty sure I learned a lot from that, also, because after I feel nervous, I know what I have to do. Like (the) last few holes, I tried to be patient and to commit to my shots."

Jutanugarn rebounded in a breakthrough May, running off the three straight victories to become the LPGA's first Thai champion. Now, she's the first Thai major champion.

"I think it's really important for me and for Thai golf, also," Jutanugarn said. "After my first tournament on tour, my goal is I really want to win a major. I did, so I'm very proud of myself."

Jutanugarn had a six-stroke lead over Lee at the turn, but Lee picked up five strokes on the next four holes with three straight birdies and Jutanugarn's double bogey on 13.

"I think I got mad after that hole," Jutanugarn said. "I'm like, 'Oh, what's wrong with me.' But after that, I'm really like, be patient and I can come back really good."

Jutanugarn made a 25-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th to take a two-shot lead to the final hole. Jutanugarn closed with par, and Lee made bogey for 73.

Lee matched the tournament record Thursday with an opening 62 and also led after the second round.

"I really had fun," Lee said. "That was the most important thing. I had fun throughout the whole thing."

Martin, the 2014 winner at Royal Birkdale, shot 70.

"That was my heart and my soul out there," Martin said. "That's all I had. I gave it everything I could."

Ariya Jutanugarn wins Women's British Open 07/31/16 [Last modified: Sunday, July 31, 2016 9:54pm]
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