It was Ariya’s fifth LPGA victory of a stunning year for the 20-year-old - and helped make up for her disappointment just nine days ago at being forced to withdraw from the Rio 2016 Olympics tournament with a knee injury that still was heavily taped and had her hobbling through the chilly Canadian event.
Bangkok’s “Nong May” grabbed the lead early for a wire-to-wire victory.
“I felt like I wanted to have fun and be happy on the course,” Ariya said immediately after the win. “No matter what’s going to happen, I can handle it ... I feel really happy with myself right now.”
After a late meltdown cost Ariya her first LPGA Tour victory in April in the major ANA Inspiration, she broke through in May with three consecutive victories. She won the Women’s British Open right before the Olympics, and made it two in a row on the tour in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies.
“My tee shots, pretty good all week,” she said. “My irons, getting a lot better in the last week or so.”
She carded a total score of 23 under par for the four-day tournament, including a six-under performance on the final day that concluded early today.
Next best were South Koreans Kim Sei-Young at 18 under par and Chun In-Gee at 17-under.
The US$2.25 million tournament at the Priddis Greens Golf and Country Club is the richest on the women’s tour. Ariya stands to win $337,500, about B11.7 million.
A 12-foot birdie putt on the final hole capped a 6-under 66 for the day and her four-stroke victory for the tournament.
Bundled up in a winter jacket between shots with the temperature hovering just above 10 degrees on the final overcast afternoon, the World No.2 matched the tournament record of 23 under set by So Yeon Ryu two years ago at London Hunt in Ontario.
She also tied the record mark for strokes of 265 set by Ryu and also accomplished by Lydia Ko in 2013 at the par-70 Royal Mayfair in Edmonton.
The long-hitting Ariya, blasting 2-iron and 3-wood shots off the driving holes on the tree-lined course, birdied the par-5 seventh and par-3 eighth to get to 19 under, then pulled away with birdies on the par-5 12th, par-4 14th, par-3 15th and par-5 18th.
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