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Red-hot Ariya blitzes field to win Canadian Open golf

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Los Angeles (AFP)

Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn closed with a 12-foot birdie putt to easily win the Canadian Women's Open by four strokes and post her fifth victory of 2016.

The 20-year-old Ariya entered the final round with a two-shot lead and never wavered as she stormed to victory on the Priddis Greens course in Calgary, Alberta.

Ariya, of Bangkok, also kept her perfect 54-hole record intact as she has won each time she has led this year heading into the fourth round. She finished in style making birdie on Nos. 12, 14, 15 and 18.

"I felt like I wanted to have fun and be happy on the course. No matter what's going to happen, I can handle it," said Ariya. "I feel really happy with myself right now."

The world number two Ariya closed with a six-under 66 to finish at 23-under 265 and beat South Korea's Kim Sei-Young by four strokes.

Ariya posted three consecutive wins in May. She added a fourth win at the Women's British Open before going to the Olympics, where she pulled out due to a left knee injury.

Southeast Asian players dominated the top of the leaderboard Sunday, taking the first three spots. There was just one American in the top nine players.

Kim shot a closing 65. A two-time tour winner this year, Kim finished in the top 10 for the sixth time in 2016.

South Korean Chun In-Gee, the winner of the 2015 US Women's Open, took third at 270 after a 69. Crowd favourite Alena Sharp, of Canada, wound up a career-best fourth after a 67 left her at 272.

Rounding out the top five were Karrie Webb of Australia and Anna Nordqvist of Sweden at 273. Webb closed with a 64 and Nordqvist with a 68.

The top-ranked Lydia Ko, who has won the event three times, tied for seventh at 275. Two of the her victories in Canada were as an amateur.

Ko entered the final round trailing Ariya by seven shots.

"I think I was a little far away going into today," said Ko.

"But no, it's been a great week. I played solid all week, and there's a lot of positives to take from this week," she added.

"I'm happy with it, and especially when I'm defending and I'm still able to have a top-10 finish."

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