Jutanugarn sisters head to Sunday in ANA contention

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RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – The Jutanugarn sisters hit the leaderboard together Saturday at the ANA Inspiration.

Blistering the Dinah Shore Course at Mission Hills with a 6-under-par 66 in the morning, Ariya bolted over her older sister and into contention in the year’s first major championship.

Moriya kept pace with a 70 in the afternoon.

Both Thai sisters enter Sunday with a chance to win.

Ariya is four shots off the lead, Moriya five back.

Moriya, 20, was the LPGA’s Rookie of the Year two seasons ago. Ariya, 19, is trying to follow suit and win the award this year.


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Ariya says her game is back to where it was before she required surgery to repair a torn labrum in her right shoulder almost two years ago.

She says her confidence is getting close.

“It’s getting a lot better,” Ariya said.

Ariya was No. 15 in the world when she got hurt tumbling off a tee box at the LPGA Championship in 2013. Just 17 back then, she had already won a Ladies European Tour event and nearly won the LPGA’s Honda Thailand event while playing in her homeland on a sponsor’s exemption. In five LPGA starts through sponsor invites and Monday qualifying in 2013, she didn’t finish worse than a tie for fourth.

Jutanugarn entered this year ranked No. 100 in the world but is regaining her form. She is up to No. 40. She qualified for the LPGA tying for third at Q-School in December. She made a run at winning the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic in her second start as a rookie tour member, losing to Sei Young Kim in a playoff.

“It’s already cool that we are both on tour, but it would be really cool if we both got top 10 this week,” Moriya said.