Ariya Jutanugarn solidified her status as the number two golfer on the World Amateur Golf Ranking with the sort of confidence that should take her far in the professional game.
While picking up her American Junior Golf Association Player of the Year Award at the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet on the eve of the Polo Junior Golf Classic, Jutanugarn announced that she was preparing to play her final AJGA tournament. When asked if she intended to end her AJGA career with a victory, Jutanugarn answered in the affirmative. “I will,” she said.
Jutanugarn made good on her promise. Indeed, she won emphatically in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. A year after failing to qualify for the match play stages, the native of Thailand finished leading qualifier along with Esther Lee. She then defeated Amy Lee, Simin Feng and Nicole Morales before dispatching 14-year-old Angel Yin 5&4.
The world number two earned the victory on her 17th birthday. Whether or not she remains in the amateur game depends on how she fares in pre-qualifying for the Ladies European Tour Qualifying School in Marrakech, December 6-9. She will enter as an amateur, but it wouldn’t be surprising if she earns her right to takes on Europe’s top professionals next year.
The long hitting Yin moves 224 places on this week’s WAGR table to 133rd in the world.
Australia’s Minjee Lee also solidifies her position in the world top 10. Lee remains the world number five after victory in the Tasmanian Stroke Play Championship.
There are no movers into the world top 20 this week, while Casey Danielson of the United States is the only player to break into the top 50. She moves 10 places to world number 43.
Thailand’s Benyapa Niphatsophon is one of four players to break into the top 100. She climbs 9 places to 92nd following victory in the Albatross International Junior Girls Championship in India.
Kevin Penner of the United States makes one of the most significant moves on this week’s World Amateur Golf Ranking following victory in the Western Refining College All-American tournament at El Paso Country Club in El Paso, Texas.
Penner, a student the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, broke 70 in all three rounds to win by one from Denmark’s Sebastian Cappelen.
Scores of 65, 66 and 68 gave Penner a 54-hole total of 199, 14-under-par. He climbs 18 places on this week’s WAGR table to 25th.
Cappelen, a student at the University of Arkansas, moves into the world top 50. He jumps 13 spots to world number 41.
Adam Wood of the United States climbs 79 places to 52nd in the world following victory in the Polo Junior Golf Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Wood won the final American Junior Golf Association tournament of the year by defeating Scott Scheffler 3&1.
Scheffler also moves inside the world top 100. He climbs 100 places to 54th.
Drikus Bruyns of South Africa won the individual title in the International Teams Championship in his homeland and moves 50 places this week to world number 176th.
Germany’s Marcel Schneider is the only player this week to break into the world top 20 after improving his ranking by one spot to 20th.
Sweden’s Pontus Widegren, who plays golf for UCLA, is the only player to join Cappelen in the world top 50. Widegren improves seven places this week to 46th.
Haydn Porteous remains in 35th spot following victory in the Harry Oppenheimer Trophy in South Africa. Porteous is the world’s second highest ranked South African behind world number 17 Brandon Stone.