Finally, Moriya Jutanugarn breaks through to win first LPGA event
Harry How/Getty Images
Moriya Jutanugarn has been on the leader board so many times in the past year, it’s easy to be confused whether or not she's actually won on the LPGA. Combine her many top-10 finishes—three runner-ups and two T-3 in the last 10 months alone—with the fact that her younger sister, Ariya, has won seven times on tour, and casual fans are likely to think Moriya has already had her breakthrough victory. But until Sunday at the HUGEL-JTBC L.A. Open, the 23-year-old from Thailand had been nothing but painfully close to a win.
With a final-round 68 at Wilshire Country Club for a 12-under 272 total, that all changed for Jutanugarn, who held off Inbee Park and Jin Young Ko by two strokes.
Jutanugarn, the 2013 LPGA rookie of the year, was steady on Sunday. She missed just four greens and made one lone bogey en route to victory in her 156th LPGA start.
When Jutanugarn talks about what it’s been like waiting for this win, she talks about staying patient and trusting in the work that she’s been doing. “I just, like, keep doing what I'm doing,” said Jutanugarn, who lost to Danielle Kang in the finals of the 2010 U.S. Women's Amateur, “and finally it worked out pretty good.”
When Moriya finished, her mom and sister were there to wrap their arms around her in celebration. Ariya actually cried more than Moriya did.
With the win, the Jutanugarn sisters join Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam, as the only two pairs of sisters to win on the LPGA.