Moriya Jutanugarn takes another step closer to younger sister Ariya on the World Amateur Golf Ranking following victory in the South Atlantic Amateur Championship on Florida’s Orange Blossom Tour.
The elder Jutanugarn has spent the last year or so taking a back seat to her 16-year-old sibling, but finally got one over on Ariya at Oceanside Country Club in Ormond Beach, Florida. Seventeen-year-old Moriya rebounded from an opening 3-over-par 75 to shoot rounds of 66, 65 and 70 for a 12-under-par total of 276. She defeated world number 10 Ariya by three strokes and England’s Charley Hull by four. Hull is the world’s seventh best amateur.
The Jutanugarns and Hull were the only three players in the field to break par in an event popularly nicknamed the Sally. Not bad when you consider that cold temperatures and strong winds plagued the first three rounds.
Moriya moves five steps closer to sister Ariya. She moves inside the world top 20 to 18th, just eight places behind her sister. In just two events on the Florida circuit Moriya has shortened the gap between herself and her sister considerably. They were 29 spots apart before the Sally and the previous week’s Harder Hall, with Ariya arriving in Florida as world number eight and Moriya at 37th.
Australia’s Whitney Hillier proved she’s recovered from a career threatening injury with an emphatic victory in the Lake Macquarie Women’s Amateur Championship at Belmont Golf Club near Newcastle, New South Wales. The 21-year-old returned rounds of 73, 68, 74 and 75 for a 2-under-par total of 290 and a seven shot victory over Breanna Elliott.
Hillier, a former Australian Girls’ champion, spent 14 months out of the game in 2010 and 2011 with a wrist injury. She moves 11 places on this week’s ranking to 40th.
Nathan Holman overcame a strong field to win the Australian Master of the Amateurs Championship over Royal Melbourne Golf Club’s West Course.
Holman held off the challenges of US Amateur champion Kelly Kraft, highly rated New Zealander Ben Campbell and compatriots Daniel Nisbet and Todd Sinnott to win the prestigious title. The 20-year-old entered the final round with a five shot lead and that proved his margin of victory.
A final round of 70 to go with earlier scores of 67, 72 and 69 gave Holman a four-round total of 278, 10-under-par. Nisbet finished second, Campbell was third, while Kraft and Sinnott shared fourth spot.
The victory comes on the back of a fairly good 2011 season for Holman, with victories in the Victorian Amateur Championship and the Riversdale Cup. The member of Woodlands Golf Club in Victoria, Australia moves 84 places up this week’s World Amateur Golf Ranking to 165th.
Nisbet moves 62 places on the WAGR table to world number 115. Campbell is the only player this week to break into the top 50, improving his ranking five places to 50th. Sinott improves his ranking to 259th from 265th at the beginning of the tournament.
Fellow Australian Matthew Stieger is the only player to break into this week’s top 20. He improves two places to take up 20th spot on the WAGR table.
Three players break into this week’s top 100. Anders Albertson of the United States moves four places to 97th; Juan Carlos Cortes of Chile improves his ranking seven places to 98th; while England’s Gregory Eason takes up 100th place after an improvement of two spots.