Ariya Jutanugarn: Southeast Asia’s first world number one

Southeast Asia has its first world number one as Thai golfer Ariya Jutanugarn replaced Lydia Ko at the top of the women’s world golf rankings after victory on Sunday at the Manulife LPGA Classic.

Jutanugarn’s meteoric rise to the top came after a remarkable year that saw her win numerous tournaments since entering the LPGA Tour in 2015.

FOX Sports Asia takes a look at six things you may not know about the world’s most recent number one.

1. Ariya was born in Bangkok and took up golf at the age of five. Her parents Somboon and Narumon own a small pro shop near Bangkok’s Rose Garden Golf Course. Her older sister Moriya is also a professional golfer on the LPGA tour.

2. At 21 years, 6 months and 20 days old, Jutanugarn is the second-youngest golfer in LPGA history after Ko (17 years 9 months) to reach the top spot and the first Thai player to achieve the honour.

3. The LPGA originally announced that Ariya would replace Ko as world number one on June 5, but a miscalculation meant that she still trailed Ko by just 0.01 points. Her win at the Manulife Classic a week later put the issue beyond doubt.

4. Jutanugarn turned pro in 2012. She joined the Ladies European Tour in 2013 (2 wins) before joining the LPGA Tour in 2015.

5. Ariya has won six LPGA titles in just over a year: the 2017 Manulife LPGA Classic, the 2016 Canadian Pacific Women’s Open, the 2016 Ricoh Women’s British Open, the 2016 LPGA Volvik Championship, the 2016 Kingsmill Championship and the 2016 Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic. Her career earnings currently stand at US$3,987,753.

6. Ariya is the first and only women’s player to win her first three titles one-after-the-other. She won the 2016 Yokohama Tire, Kingsmill and LPGA Volvik all in May.

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