Ariya put her right hand to her mouth in disbelief and then
burst into tears after holing a 30-footer at the first extra
hole to outlast American Lexi Thompson and South Korean Chun
In-gee in Cambridge, Ontario.
Ariya’s joy stood in stark contrast to the disappointment felt
by Thompson, who frittered away a two-shot lead in regulation by
three-putting the final two holes for two bogeys.
“I just can’t believe I've won the tournament because when I got
here I didn’t feel comfortable hitting the golf ball,” an
emotional Ariya told Golf Channel.
“I was scared to hit my tee shot. (Now) I feel better.”
Ariya carded a closing three-under-par 69 in breezy conditions
at Whistle Bear, while Thompson shot 72 and Chun 70. They all
finished at 17-under 271.
Ariya is almost certain to take over from Lydia Ko as the world
number one when the rankings are updated on Monday.
Ariya was set to take over last Monday, but ended up staying at
number two after the ranking projections were bungled.
The 21-year-old from Bangkok has now had six LPGA victories, all
since the start of last season.
Ariya would not have had a chance to win on Sunday if Thompson
had not suffered a meltdown, her jangled nerves betraying her
when under pressure with the putter.
Thompson lipped out a five-foot putt at the penultimate hole and
had a chance to make amends with a four-footer to win it at the
last but hit a poor putt to fall back into the playoff.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by
[© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2017 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.