SAMMAMISH, Wash. – Ariya Jutanugarn will be trying to win her first major championship this week without a driver in her bag.
Jutanugarn, who’s attempting to win her fourth consecutive start, won the Volvik Championship without a driver in her last start. She will start the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship Thursday with a 3-wood, 2-iron and 3-iron in her bag as her long clubs setup.
“The golf course is so hard for me,” Jutanugarn said. “I play yesterday, and I feel like the course too narrow. But it’s a great golf course, great shape, the greens are so good, but a lot of trees and big trees, pretty hard for me.”
Jutanugarn won at the Volvik Championship hitting sawed-off, stinger 3-woods that ran out 270 yards. She won there playing with Rolex world No. 1 Lydia Ko in the first two rounds.
“I've never played with another player that didn't have a driver in the bag,” Ko said. “But it worked out being perfect. She hits the 3-wood plenty far, 30 or 40 yards farther than my driver. She was hitting it straight and long. And I think that was the key. And making a lot of crucial putts.”
Jutanugarn really struggled with her driver last year, and while she’s hitting it a lot better, she’s learning she doesn’t need it on courses like Sahalee, with its narrow fairways.
“The 2-iron is always in her bag,” said Les Luark, Jutanugarn’s caddie. “That’s her most trusted club. She loves that thing more than anything else in the bag.”