The Loop

Sorry, Jason Day and Lydia Ko. The winningest golfer in 2016 is the red-hot Ariya Jutanugarn

August 29, 2016

Outside of Jason Day, who leads the PGA Tour with three victories this season, the players with the most wins on the four biggest U.S. golf tours in 2016 are all somewhat of surprises. On the Tour, trick-shot artist Wesley Bryan won three times in his rookie season to earn a battlefield promotion to the PGA Tour. And on the PGA Tour Champions, a 59-year-old Berhard Langer is still dominating those young 50-year-olds to the tune of four titles. OK, so that's not too surprising. Langer is a freak of nature.

Then there's the winningest golfer on the planet in 2016, Ariya Jutanugarn. The 20-year-old from Thailand didn't have an LPGA Tour title until May. Now? She has five.

Jutanugarn picked up the fifth victory of a stunning breakthrough campaign on Sunday at the Canadian Pacific Women's Open. Jutanugarn shot rounds of 68-64-67-66 to win by four shots just nine days after withdrawing from the Olympics (she was the first-round leader before pulling out after 13 holes in the second round) with a knee injury.

"I feel like I'm going to withdraw this week because my knee hurt so bad last week," Jutanugarn told reporters in Canada. "But when I got here on Monday and Tuesday, it's getting a lot better, and first round it's fine."

That's bad news for her opponents, who haven't been able to stop her during a torrid four-month stretch in which she's won five of her past 10 starts, including her first major title at the Ricoh Women's British Open last month. The powerful player, who rarely hits driver, also has a runner-up and a third-place finish in that time frame. And when Jutanugarn tees it up this week at the Manulife LPGA Classic, she'll be looking to match the three-tournament winning streak she had earlier this season.

Incredibly, Jutanugarn's breakout has occurred in the immediate aftermath of some major heartbreak, a late collapse at the ANA Inspiration in March. But five quick wins will help erase the bad memory of that stumble -- and they're also helping Jutanugarn get to her next goal: Being No. 1 in the world.

Jutanugarn is now No. 2 in the Rolex Rankings, trailing only Lydia Ko, who has four victories this season. Keep winning at a 50-percent clip, though, and things won't stay that way for long.