Ariya back as No.1, nears triple crown

Ariya back as No.1, nears triple crown

Ariya Jutanugarn acknowledges spectators at the second round of the Japan Classic held last weekend at Otsu City, near Kyoto. (Photo via LPGA.com)
Ariya Jutanugarn acknowledges spectators at the second round of the Japan Classic held last weekend at Otsu City, near Kyoto. (Photo via LPGA.com)

For the third time in her career, Bangkok's Ariya Jutanugarn returned to No.1 in the Rolex Rankings for best women's golfers in the world.

And with three events remaining on the season's schedule, she is certain to keep that ranking, plus two others: top tournament money winner and most top-10 finishes in 2018.

Ariya secured her second Rolex Player of the Year award on Monday, with more points than any other player can overcome.

Following last week's tournament in Taipei, it became statistically impossible for Sung Hyun Park, Minjee Lee or Brooke Henderson, the closest competitors in the season-long Player of the Year race, to catch her. Ariya also was Rolex Player of the Year in 2016.

In addition to Player of the Year, Ariya is also close to clinching the 2018 money title and LEADERS Top 10 Competition.

The Thai made the move from No.2 to the top, replacing Sung Hyun Park of South Korea, who held the No.1 spot for the last 10 weeks.

Ariya previously spent five weeks at No.1 in the world.

She became the first player from Thailand to ascend to the top of the rankings in June of last year, and held the position for two weeks. She returned to the top spot in July, holding the spot for three weeks.

She has won $2,459,240 this year and currently leads the money list by $940,936 ahead of her closest competitor, Minjee Lee of Australia. Canadian Brooke Henderson is third on the money list and trails Ariya by $1,037,612.

Lee or Henderson must win outright this week's tournament to keep alive any home of surpassing the Thai leader. Otherwise, Ariya will have locked up the Tour's money title for 2018.

As for the LEADERS Top-10 competition, Ariya leads the Tour with 15 top 10 finishes in 2018. Lee is second with 13, and South Korea's Jin Young Ko is ranked third with 12.

If Ariya finishes in the top 10 this week, and Lee does not, it would be impossible for Lee or Ko to catch her.


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