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Jutanugarn Wins U.S. Girls' Junior Amateur Championship
Ariya Jutanugarn, a 15-year-old from Thailand, beat Dottie Ardina of the Philippines 2 & 1 to win the U.S. Girls' Junior Championship at Olympia Fields Country Club in Illinois.
Jutanugarn, the stroke-play medalist at the 2010 Women's Amateur Public Links and in this year's U.S. Girls' Junior by four strokes, was 1-down after the first 18 holes but birdied the 19th hole and never trailed again in the 36-hole championship match.
The 17-year-old Ardina made things interesting with a birdie on the 33rd hole to get to 1-down, but bogeyed the 35th to cede the match to Jutanugarn.
After the awards ceremony, Jutanugarn sat down with reporters for the following interview.
MODERATOR: We are very excited to have Ariya Jutanugarn here, winner of the Girls' Junior Championship, and her sister Moriya and her parents, as well. Congratulations. Tell us how you feel winning your first championship.
Q. You hung so many putts on the lip, it was really close. Was it hard not to get kind of frustrated?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: The last putts are so easy, like uphill and left inside, and I just think, just make it and done today.
Q. What does this mean to you, winning a USGA championship?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: For me the tournament is so big, like a major. I'm so proud to win this match.
Q. Talk about the course. How did you feel you played on the course compared to two weeks ago at the Women's Open and some of the other courses you've played here?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: It's so different than the Open, but I have experience from the Open and I'm so confident this week because it's easier than the Open.
Q. What's been the hardest match do you think this week?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: I think with Dottie [Ardina] and with Gabby [Gabriella Then].
Q. Those were two of your longer matches. Was it a good fit for you? Were they strong competitors? Did they play hard?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: They both played so good. Like Gabby, I played with her and last time I lose to her, and I'm so happy I can beat her. And I played with Dottie. Dottie's not so long but her short game is so good, and everything is straight.
Q. You played very well in the morning, but she had the 1 up advantage at lunch. What were you thinking at that point?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: Well, I had break like one hour and made me confident, and I think in the morning I played not so good because I missed a lot of putts, just they were all short all the time. And in the afternoon, I putt not so good.
Q. Two years ago you beat Alexis Thompson. How have you grown as a player since, gotten better?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: Two years ago when I played with Alexis Thompson, I'm so excited. But now I have experience two more years and not excited each year.
Q. You had a good week here with your sister and your parents. What's it like to share this with your family?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: I feel like I'm so happy. I really want to thank my dad and my mom who are with me all the time, every year, and thank you to my sister for being the caddie for me this week.
Q. How good was your caddie this week?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: She's so nice, and she tells me if she played this tournament, she's going to beat me.
Q. If you couldn't play, Moriya, was this a good second?
MORIYA JUTANUGARN: I hope.
Q. What are your plans for the rest of the summer before you go home? What will you play before you go home?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: Two more tournaments, and last tournament is the U.S. Women's Amateur and then go home.
Q. Are you excited about going to the Women's Amateur?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: Yes, I'm so excited because it's a really big tournament and it's all the major players. The best players are there.
Q. Have you called anyone from home, any of your friends back in Thailand?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: No, never. I think I'll have to call them today.
Q. Afternoon round, you hit it about this close to go 2 up. Did you think you had things in command or were you still worried?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: I just think like if I can make this one, and I want to make birdie and make one, I'm going to be dormie. But I make it and next hole I miss it, so I feel like, okay, 17, I'm going to make.
Q. Is it hard playing a long match like this?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: It's so hard and I'm so tired. We still played 36 holes three days, and I've never played 36 holes.
Q. Knowing it's 36 holes today, how do you play the first part, the morning? Were you thinking about the championship at that point, or were you just trying to stay close?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: I think both. Before I played today I'm so happy I can be [one of] the last two players, and if I can win I'm so proud. But even not, it's okay. I have experience.
Q. Was it hard to sleep last night?
ARIYA JUTANUGARN: Last night I sleep a lot. I'm so tired. But last year I'm excited and cannot sleep, but this year I'm so tired. That's why I sleep so long.
MODERATOR: Congratulations, and we hope to see you next year in California.
The transcript for the above report is courtesy of the USGA. For more information, visit www.usga.org.