I died this afternoon. Actually, looking back I think I died 17 times this afternoon. Luckily, in this scenario reincarnation was a very real thing. Watching Ariya Jutanugarn collapsing on the back nine in the final round of the 2018 United States Open, memories of past implosions…notably the 2016 ANA Inspiration…were freshly resurrected. If she had lost this Major after holding a 7 shot lead with 9 holes to go I might never have watched another LPGA tournament. My fragile heart couldn’t take it. But..though being pushed to a playoff, in the end May emerged victorious after 4 extra holes, the first two aggregate and the last two sudden death. It’s her 9th LPGA title and 2nd Major, alongside her 2016 Women’s British Open championship. I won’t rehash the particulars, you can watch a YouTube video for that. Rather, I’d like to comment on how important I think this victory is for the younger Jutanugarn sister. First, I think the fact that she has stolen defeat from the jaws of victory on several occasions in the past and easily could have done the same today but didn’t is extremely important. She has a lot of strength mentally to have bounced back from previous letdowns, but I don’t know if a collapse at the US Women’s Open would have been more than she could have survived without repercussions moving forward. Secondly, like Se Ri Pak before her, I wonder if winning the US Women’s Open will be one of those titles that young Thai players speak about years from now as being the one that inspired them to dream about professional golf glory. Even on this day, the low amateur was teen Thai up and comer Patty Tavatanakit. I haven’t been posting much lately, but I do have an upcoming tribute to both Jutanugarn sisters coming. That is for another day. Today I am just happy and beyond ecstatic to celebrate younger sister’s second LPGA major.
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ARIYA JUTANUGARN, 2018 US Women’s Open Champion