Ariya Jutanugarn wins 3rd straight LPGA Tour title
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- Ariya Jutanugarn became the first player to win three straight LPGA Tour events in three years, closing with a 5-under 67 for a five-stroke victory Sunday in the Volvik Championship.
The 20-year-old Jutanugarn is the first player since Inbee Park in 2013 to win three consecutive tournaments and the first ever to make their first three career victories consecutive.
Jutanugarn finished at 15-under 273 at Travis Pointe after starting the day with a one-shot edge thanks to a closing eagle in the third-round.
Jutanugarn became the first Thai winner in tour history three weeks ago in Alabama and followed that up last week with a victory in Virginia. Jutanugarn doesn't plan to play the next event in New Jersey, where she would have had a shot to become the first since Lorena Ochoa in 2008 to win four scheduled tournaments in a row.
Christina Kim was second after a 71.
Jessica Korda (72) and Canada's Brooke Henderson (68) tied for third at 9 under. The 18-year-old Henderson has nine top-10 finishes this season.
Before the breakthrough winning streak, Jutanugarn was best known for two final-round meltdowns. Last month in the ANA Inspiration, she had a two-stroke lead with three holes left and closed with three bogeys to finish fourth - two strokes behind winner Lydia Ko. In the 2013 LPGA Thailand at age 17, Jutanugarn blew a two-stroke lead with a closing triple bogey in a one-stroke loss to Park.
Jutanugarn opened the inaugural tournament with a 65, leaving her a shot behind Kim. Jutanugarn surged into the lead by two strokes with a 68 on Friday, and finished off a 73 on Saturday with a 15-foot eagle putt for a one-stroke lead over Kim and Korda.
The powerful player didn't need a driver this week, and still often outhit the competition off the tee with her 2-iron and 3-wood. And even if she was in the rough or sand, Jutanugarn's deft touch put her in position to make par-saving putts or birdies.
Lightning in the area led to a 50-minute rain delay toward the end of Jutanugarn's front nine when she was 1 under for the day after a birdie at No. 6.
Facing a stiff, flag-flapping wind, she sent a tee shot into the right rough at No. 9. Her approach left her short of the green, but she got up and down for a par. As Jutanugarn walked off the green, she stopped to shake the hand of Army specialist Zachary Loughrige, who was tending the U.S. flag that was used in hole.
She pulled away from the field with birdies at Nos. 13, 14 and 16, earning a five-shot cushion at 14 under.
Long before that moment, though, everyone else was vying for position on the leaderboard behind Jutanugarn.
Third-ranked Lexi Thompson shot a 67 to tie for seventh at 7 under. The top-ranked had a 70 to tie for 16th at 4 under.