Ariya Jutanugarn leads LET Q-School by three shots
Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn has already made a big impact in junior golf. She might just make a lot of noise on next year’s Ladies European Tour, too.
The 17-year-old amateur leads the Ladies European Tour Final Qualifying School in Morocco, with one round to go. Jutanugarn is 21 under after four rounds, and takes a three-shot lead into the fifth and final round.
Scores of 68 and 70 in the first two rounds set Jutanugarn on the right path, but she shifted into higher gear in the third and fourth rounds with scores of 64 and 65.
Jutanugarn is one of three amateurs stealing the show in Morocco. English amateur Emily Taylor sits three shots behind Jutanugarn at 18 under, while Namibia’s Bonita Bredenhann is a further two shots back on 16-under-par.
Sweden’s Camilla Lennarth leads the professional charge. She lies solo fourth on 14 under.
Jutanugarn ended her junior career this season by winning her second consecutive AJGA Rolex Junior player of the Year. She will skip college golf to turn professional. Her play in Morocco would suggest she’s made the right choice.
“The course is not easy but I think I got lucky because I’ve hit my irons perfect this week,” Jutanugarn said after the fourth round. “Every day my irons, I hit them so close, but today I missed some short putts one or two times. I had a three-putt on a par 5, the 13th. Generally I think everything is very good and I’ll just keep going like today.”
Taylor finished the season as the top amateur golfer in England, topping the Ladies Order of Merit. She won’t try to replicate that feat. Taylor looks likely to take her place amongst Europe’s elite next year.
“It’s nice to be able to relax and not to be worried about the cut,” Taylor said. “It’s nice to be able to just play and enjoy.”
Bredenhann had five birdies in her fourth-round 67 and looks set to become the first professional from Namibia to play on the Ladies European Tour.
“I missed a few holes that could have been birdies but I was just trying to be calm, focused and play shot by shot,” said the 20-year-old. “I was chasing Ariya but she was playing really, really well, putting it next to the pins and sank her putts. I had a few lip-outs. I’m going to try and go for it tomorrow and give her a go, but I’ll take whatever I play. I’ll just go out there and enjoy it.”
Tiger Woods’s niece Cheyenne Woods made the cut and lies T-46 at 2 under.
Two Great Britain & Ireland Curtis Cup players also made the cut. England’s Charley Hull lies in 19th place at 8 under. Compatriot Holly Clyburn is T-38 at 3 under. Unfortunately, teammates Amy Boulden of Wales and England’s Kelly Tidy missed the cut.
The top 30 and ties after the fifth round earn cards for the 2013 LET season.