Ariya delays graduation

Amateur Ariya Juntanugarn has put her plan to turn professional on hold as she hopes to win the Rolex Junior Player of the Year award for a second successive time.

The 17-year-old, who won three AJGA titles this year, planned to turn pro at this week's Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia but the prospect of winning the award for a second consecutive year is too tempting for her to refuse.

Ariya, the top player in the Polo Rangking, is believed to be the favourite to win the junior player award. Her closet rival is American Alison Lee, who took two titles.

"Ariya is likely to win the award again because her results were much better than the rest," her father Somboon said. "If she turns pro, she is not eligible to get the award."

Ariya wants to be remembered as a two-time Player of the Year like many other big name players such as Cristie Kerr (1995), Paula Creamer (2003) and Morgan Pressel (2005).

After the Malaysia event, Ariya will fly to the US for a short-term golf lesson and attend the Player of the Year award ceremony.

Then, she will head for Europe, where she plans to turn professional and participate in the Ladies European Tour's Qualifying School.

About the author

Writer: Kittipong Thongsombat
Position: Reporter