A bogey-free effort capped by an eagle on the par-5 18th is about as good as it gets for Ariya Jutanugarn. Her second-round 63 at Evian Resort Golf Club sets a career-low score in a major championship, besting the 64 she recorded in the third round of the 2019 Amundi Evian Championship.
At the halfway point in Evian-les-Bains, France, Jutanugarn shares second at 12-under overall with fellow Thai standout Pajaree Anannarukarn, three shots back of the lead.
“I’m pretty lucky to make eagle last hole. I feel good right now about making it,” said Jutanugarn, who only recorded 25 putts in round two. “I want to keep building on that. I will say mostly my commitment. I feel like I was getting better today, but I can still get better.”
The 12-time LPGA Tour champion has played an instrumental part in shaping the trajectory of women’s golf in her native Thailand. Wins build hope for the next generation and being the subject of a Netflix film, Tee Shot: Ariya Jutanugarn, establishes a role model that others look up to.
In a sense, Jutanugarn is responsible for playing a part in sparking an interest in golf for Anannarukarn and could very well be the reason Atthaya Thitikul, currently in a tie for seventh at 7-under overall, first picked up a club. Not to mention Patty Tavatanakit bursting onto the scene with her major victory at the ANA Inspiration in April.
“As a kid, I wanted to be like LPGA Members one day, from them,” said Thitikul. “Ariya and [her sister] Moriya, and all Thai players on the LPGA always inspire us.”
But for Jutanugarn, it’s not about the acknowledgement of what she has accomplished in her career and for growing the game back home. It’s seeing the early success of those who carry the Thai flag on their shoulders, those she will pass the torch to one day.
“We have lots of [Thai] golfers and the way they play is really inspiring me, also,” Jutanugarn said. “I am pretty sure not going to only be a few of them, the Thai players keep coming.
“I feel it is great, and especially Atthaya. When I look at her age, I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m almost 10 years older than her. The way they play, the way they work so hard, like 10 times more than me, I’m so impressed.”