Ariya Jutanugarn has already decided the first thing she will do if she wins the bonus cash that accompanies the Race to the CME Globe title. She’ll take her mom out for a celebratory dinner. Figure on appetizers and dessert being included, since the prize is $1-million (U.S.).
This would have seemed an unlikely scenario a few months ago, but Jutanugarn has arrived at the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship as the leader for the CME Globe – with that $1-million bonus – and the year-long money title. A five-time winner this season, Jutanugarn will be player of the year unless world No. 1 Lydia Ko prevails this week.
Those bad shots don’t seem to happen too often.
The 20-year-old from Thailand added something to her preshot routine in April, and it had nothing to do with her grip or her swing. She started smiling before most shots, a little trick she’s used to keep her mind right over the course of a round. It’s worked wonders.
Most around the LPGA Tour call Jutanugarn “May” – a fitting moniker this year. She made three starts this May and won them all, her first LPGA victories coming in succession and starting her springboard to No. 2 in the world.
Jutanugarn didn’t make the cut in the first stop this season, shot a final-round 84 in her second start and finished a combined 39 shots behind the winners during a rather unremarkable two-week stretch in March.
“You still remember?” Jutanugarn asked, rhetorically. “Did I really shoot 84?”
“The bad shots,” she said, “inspired me to hit better shots.”
“To me, it would be player of the year,” Jutanugarn said. “It’s a really huge honour to win that award. To me, that’s the hardest one to win.”
Maybe so, but she’s made contending for it look easy.Report Typo/Error