Jutanugarns among amateurs invited to Kraft
Thai sisters Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn will try to join the long line of talented teens who have made their mark at the Kraft Nabisco Championship as amateurs.
Ariya, 16, finished 25th last year in the LPGA's first major championship of the season. Moriya, 17, will be making her debut at the Rancho Mirage, Calif., event. They’ve accepted sponsor exemptions to play as amateurs along with Austin Ernst, Jaye Marie Green and Charley Hull at Mission Hills Country Club on March 29-April 1.
Moriya and Ariya are Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in the Golfweek/amateurgolf.com Women’s Player Rankings as well as the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings, though Ariya leads the way in the latter.
Ernst, a sophomore at LSU, is the reigning NCAA champion. She advanced to the semifinals of the U.S. Women’s Amateur and will represent the U.S. at the 2012 Curtis Cup. The 20-year-old from Seneca, S.C., will be making her Kraft debut.
Jaye Marie Green, 18, of Boca Raton, Fla., spent a brief time as Golfweek’s No. 1-ranked amateur thanks to her victory at the 2011 South Atlantic Amateur. She helped lead the U.S. team to victory at the Junior Solheim Cup and won the 2011 Ping Junior Invitational at Karsten Creek.
England’s Charley Hull rounds out the amateur exemptions. Hull, 15, made her mark in the U.S. as a two-time winner on the Florida Orange Blossom Circuit. She won this year’s Harder Hall Invitational to go along with the 2011 Jones/Doherty Women’s Amateur. Hull was named to a preliminary squad for the Great Britain and Ireland Curtis Cup team.