Ariya overcomes butterflies for first LPGA win

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Ariya Jutanugarn fought off back nine nerves to par the 18th hole Sunday and win the Yokohama Tire Classic, becoming the first Thai player to win on the LPGA Tour.

Ariya started the fourth round with a three-stroke lead and despite a roller-coaster round she manged to close with an even-par 72 to claim her first win.

"It was so tough. I can't control anything. My legs were shaking, my hands were shaking," Ariya said.

The 20-year-old from Bangkok finished at 274 to beat South Korea's Amy Yang and Americans Morgan Pressel and Stacy Lewis by one shot and finally reach the winner's circle after three top-10 finishes this year.

Pressel shot 68, Yang had a 67 and Lewis shot a 68.

It wasn't pretty and it wasn't the way she dreamed it would be, but Ariya finally broke through after a couple of near misses. She has twice held 54-hole leads but failed to convert those to wins.

Earlier this season at the ANA Inspiration, the first major of the year, she led by two shots with three to play in the final round but bogeyed her final three holes to lose to Lydia Ko.

It was also a special win for another reason as her mom was in attendance on the US Mother's Day. The Thai Mother's Day is August 12.

Ryu So-Yeon, who led after 36 holes, had a 72 and finished at 278. First round leader Laetitia Beck of Israel also shot 72 to finish with three others six shots back of Ariya.