OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. (AP) — Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand won the 63rd U.S. Girls Junior championship on Saturday, scoring a 2 and 1 victory over Dottie Ardina of the Philippines at Olympia Fields Country Club.
Jutanugarn closed out the match by getting up and down for par on the par-4 17th hole of the afternoon round. Ardina three-putted from 65 feet.
It was the first victory in a match-play tournament for the 15-year-old, who captured the AJGA Girls Junior title earlier this year.
“This tournament is so big, it’s like a major to me,” Jutanugarn said.
Earlier this month, she played in the U.S. Women’s Open, as did her sister Moriya, who caddied for her in this tournament because of a sore left wrist.
“I was so confident this week, because it’s easier than the Open,” Jutanugarn said. “The back nine (in the afternoon), I had no power, but I still played good.”
Ardina was 1 up after the morning round, gaining the advantage when Jutanugarn bogeyed the South Course’s par-4 17th. The players had halved the previous 10 holes.
Jutanugarn evened the match with a 5-foot birdie putt on the first hole of the afternoon round, and won the fourth hole to go 1 up when Ardina flubbed a chip. While Ardina evened the match twice, Jutanugarn never trailed thereafter.
She took the lead for good with a par on the par-3 12th.
The 17-year-old Ardina made three birdies, including two in the final eight holes, but edged the hole or came up short on 10 other birdie attempts.
“I think it was because of the overnight rain,” Ardina said. “And I made a couple of three putts. It’s pretty tough.”