Double bogey lights fire under Jutanugarn


RIO DE JANEIRO – A double bogey rarely is a good thing. Wednesday at the Olympics, Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn thought it was a great thing.

The 20-year-old, who has taken the LPGA by storm the past three months with four victories including the Women’s British Open, shot a first-round 6-under 65 at Olympic Golf Course to take a one-shot lead over South Koreans Inbee Park and Sei Young Kim.

After birdies on the second and third hole, Jutanugarn credited a sloppy double bogey on the fourth with her playing the remaining 14 holes in 6 under.

“After that I feel like, OK, I really want to play like my game and not worry about how my scores are going to be,” she said.

Jutanugarn was plenty pleased a few minutes later when he made eagle on the next hole after hitting her approach on the par-5 fifth hole from 190 yards to 8 feet. She rattled off birdies on Nos. 7 and 8, then played the back nine in 2 under.

As usual, Jutanugarn never hit a driver.

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The No. 2-ranked player in the world has dealt with a shoulder injury the past couple years and, although she had not played well, was widely considered to be an LPGA star in the making.

Finally, in May, those claims came true when she won her first-ever event in Alabama, then rattled off two more victories for three in a row. Jutanugarn then captured the Women’s British Open two weeks ago, the LPGA’s last event before this Olympic break.

During the last two weeks Jutanugarn fulfilled tons of media requests back in Thailand, and this week, has spent time with her country’s athletes in the Olympic Village.

“When I play here, I feel like the only thing I want to do is make Thai people proud and be happy with me,” she said.

Mission accomplished.