Ariya Jutanugarn has officially ended Lydia Ko’s 85-week reign as the number one player in women’s golf following her victory at the Manulife LPGA Classic on Sunday and becomes the first player from Thailand to take top spot in the world rankings.
The 21-year-old from Bangkok is the 10th player to be crowned number one since the rankings were created in 2006 and joins an illustrious group that includes Annika Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa, Yani Tseng and Park In-bee.
Ariya, the second-youngest player to take top spot after South Korea-born Ko, had erroneously been told last week that her performance at the ShopRite Classic was enough to lift her into top spot.
However, New Zealander Ko was later reinstated as number one after it emerged projections from the Women’s World Golf Rankings (WWGR) were faulty.
Ariya said she was proud of her achievement and promised to work hard to maintain top spot.
“It means the world to me,” she told the LPGA website. “We get to show the world that Thai people can do it. It’s been a long road getting to this spot, but it will be even more challenging from this point on.”
While Ko has struggled for form after changing her coach, caddie and equipment, there are no shortage of challengers to Ariya’s throne with the likes of South Korean Ryu So-yeon and American Lexi Thompson hard on her heels.
“The ranking can change after any week, and I will just keep working very hard every single day,” said the Thai. “I don’t see this as a mission complete, but it’s just the beginning.”
The LPGA Tour moves to Michigan this week for the Meijer Classic, with the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the second major on the 2017 schedule, looming at the end of the month. (Writing by Peter Rutherford; Editing by Nick Mulvenney)