Ariya Jutanugarn didn’t win the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship (she finished T-5), but by rallying with rounds of 69-66 over the final two days, Jutanugarn secured the season-long Race to the CME Globe and the $1-million bonus that goes along with the title.
Jutanugarn, who captured three of her 10 LPGA Tour titles in 2018 set a tour-record with 470 birdies (besting her own mark by one, set in 2016) for the season. Not bad for a player who almost always eschews the driver, teeing off instead with a TaylorMade AeroBurner 3-wood or a TaylorMade Tour Preferred UDi utility club.
Perhaps Jutanugarn’s most memorable shots of the year came with her shortest clubs. At Kingsmill, she clipped a 56-degree wedge pitch shot and watched as it rolled to within tap-in distance that proved to be the winning blow. Then, at the U.S. Women’s Open, Jutanugarn let a seven-shot lead get away. Standing a shot behind Hyo Joo Kim on the second hole of the two-hole aggregate playoff, Jutanugarn had a dicey pitch shot that she had to get up-and-down. She did, then two holes later splashed a sporty bunker shot to two feet and made the putt for the win.
Jutanugarn uses Titleist’s Vokey SM7 wedges. Her 50- and 56-degree have 12 and 14 degrees of bounce, respectively, while her 60-degree is low bounce at just 4 degrees. On the back of her 60-degree Jutanugarn has her nickname, “May” stamped multiple times. Given how those wedges treated her this past year, she might just retire them.
What Ariya Jutanugarn had in the bag in winning the Race to the CME Globe
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
3-wood: TaylorMade AeroBurner, 15 degrees
Irons (2-3): TaylorMade Tour Preferred UDI; (4): TaylorMade RSi TP UDI; (5-PW): Titleist 716 AP2
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (50, 56, 60 degrees)
Putter: Odyssey Works Cruiser V-Line