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A. Jutanugarn hopes to back up bold prediction

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GURNEE, Ill. – Did Ariya Jutanugarn really predict Thailand would win the UL International Crown during the media day last month?

“Yes,” Jutanugarn said after helping Thailand take three points at the Merit Club in Thursday’s opening round of the biennial international team event with a victory and a halved match in fourballs.

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Jutanugarn told teammates and event staff in a casual conversation during media day that she really thought the Thais were going to win the event. Moriya, Ariya’s sister, was surprised when Ariya got up on stage during the official media program and repeated her prediction.

“We didn’t think she would say it up there to everyone,” Moriya said.

Thailand is a rising women’s golf nation. Ariya became the first Thai to win an LPGA event earlier this year and then went on to win three in a row. Eight Thais advanced through LPGA Q-School last December, a record number for that country.

The Thais are scheduled to meet the Americans Friday in the second round of fourballs.