RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – For the fifth consecutive year, Moriya Jutanugarn has positioned herself to win her first major championship.
It’s all part of the plan, part of her work with performance coaches Lynn Marriott and Pia Nilsson of Vision54. It’s not just a strategy for major championships, it’s something she applies every time she tees it up on the LPGA Tour. Jutanugarn has to put herself in position, otherwise how can she win? As for when it will happen? Well, that’s just a matter of time.
“It’s about patience. Not just this week, but every week,” Jutanugarn told GolfChannel.com “For me, [I] just keep knocking on the door and one day it’s probably going to open.”
Friday, Jutanugarn positioned herself to make a run this weekend at the ANA Inspiration. She opened with rounds of 68-69 to sit two-strokes back of 36-hole leader Patty Tavatanakit in just her second start of the 2021 season. She missed the cut in her return at last week’s Kia Classic.
“Last week, I had a hard time,” Jutanugarn said about making her first start in three months. “This week, I [was] just like, ‘OK, I'm just going to focus on what I have to do,’ and I'm telling you, it's tough because I haven't competed for a long time.”
Jutanugarn’s success is coming on the heels of her reunion with Vision54.
This week, she connected with her longtime coaches for the first time, in person, since January 2020. The in-person connection went a long way in replacing the video calls they’ve used over the past year due to the pandemic.
“It's so nice to get back to see each other again,” Jutanugarn said about reconnecting with her coaches. “Every time when you see them it's just a lot of good energies and at least you know you go towards the right way.”
For the second time in five months, the 26-year-old finds herself in position to win a major heading into the weekend. In December at the U.S. Women’s Open, she was one of just four players who were under par after 54 holes. She entered the final round two-strokes back of the lead but faded with a final-round 74 that left her in a tie for sixth.
And that has been the trend for Jutanugarn in golf’s biggest events. She struggles to put together four good rounds. She has six career top-10s in major championships. And she will need her very best this weekend at Mission Hills where eight major champions sit within four strokes of the lead.
“I don’t know when it’s going to happen,” Jutanugarn said about winning a major. “I’m just going to do my best.”
Jutanugarn has shown that she has the patience to wait for her time to come. The 2013 Rookie of the Year waited six years to capture her first victory on the LPGA Tour. While she’s more than capable of continuing to wait it out, there’s certainly a part of her that must be wondering if Sunday will be her time.
“Hopefully, I’m going to win a major in my career,” Jutanugarn said. “I don’t know when, but winning a major is one of my dreams.”