HAINAN – Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn fell just short of her 11th career victory on Saturday, as Gaby Lopez of Mexico won the Blue Bay LPGA tournament in Hainan, China.
Playing in the final group of the day, Ariya and Lopez both finished at one over par, with Lopez 8 under for the tournament and Ariya one stroke behind. Celine Boutier of France put a scare into the leaders when she went 6 under for the day to finish at 6 under for the tournament.
It was the first career win on the LPGA Tour for 138th-ranked Lopez, who had celebrated her 25th birthday on Friday with a hole-in-one. That helped move her into the third-round lead ahead of Ariya, who had started the day with a four-stroke cushion at the Jian Lake Blue Bay Golf Club.
World No.2 Park Sung-hyun finished the tournament at 2 under par, tied with Moriya Jutanugarn, Ariya’s sister. Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras of Thailand finished at even par.
The Blue Bay tournament wraps up five straight weeks of play for the top women’s golf tour in Asia. The final event of the LPGA season, the CME Group Tour Championship with a prize of $1 million for the winner, will be held in Florida next weekend.
Barring a strong performance by her Korean rival Park, Ariya is in a good position to finish the year ranked first in the world after the CME tournament, which she won last year.
Source: Al Campbell