Sunday, January 15, 2012


England's leading Curtis Cup team contenders 15-year-old Charley Hull (Woburn) and Holly Clyburn (Woodhall Spa), 20, finished third and ninth respectively behind the talented Thailand sisters, Moriya and Ariya Jutangarn in the South Atlantic women's amateur golf championship, the second event of the Orange Blossom Tour, at Oceanside Country Club, Ormond Beach in Florida.
Hull, promoted to No 6 in the Women's World Amateur Rankings after victory from the Bangkok teenage sisters, Ariya (16) and Moriya (17) Jutanugarn, in the Harder Hall Invitational, found herself finishing behind the Thai siblings in this one, in which the trio were the only players to finish under the par of 288 over a testing course. Moriya, ranked No 23, won with a 12-under-par total of 276, three ahead of Ariya, No 10, with Hull third on 280.
Moriya, after an opening round of 75. covered the last 54 holes in a brilliant 15-under-par with scores of 66, 65 and 70. Ariya shot 67-71-69-72 while Hull was never over par on all four days with scores of 72-68-70-70.
Hull was the only player who could live with the Jutanugarns over a testing course. She finished 10 shots ahead of the fourth-placed American.
Clyburn, 21 on February 7, totalled 10-over 298 in chalking up another top 10 finish in a quality field but she will be disappointed with her final two rounds, 77 and 78, after a second-round 68 suggested she could mount a title challenge.
Roehampton Gold Cup winner last season, Rachel Drummond (Beaconsfield) started moderately with an 83 but got to grips with the course after that with rounds of 75, 75, and 72 for a T14 finished on 305 - 10 ahead of coach David Leadbetter's US-based daughter Hally (80-73-82-80).
In all there were three British players in the top nine finishers - Scottish girls champion Eilidh Briggs (Stirling University and Kilmacolm), pictured right, gaining seventh place on 296 with scores of 75, 75, 72 and 74.
Considering this is Eilidh's first visit to the Orange Blossom Tour and her first experience of the Oceanside CC course, it was an encouraging performance for the 18-year-old who birdied the second and short fourth on Saturday but dropped shots at the first, short ninth, short 14th and 16th in halves of 36-36.
But another Stirling University student, Kelsey MacDonald, needing good results to impress the GB and I Curtis Cup team selectors, finished joint 31st. MacDonald (Nairn Dunbar) score 82, 75, 81 and 80 for 318.
Kelsey had no birdies in her final round which included a double bogey 6 at the fifth and five shots dropped in six successive holes from the 10th to the 15th.
Over the 72 holes, the Astor Cup and Vagliano trophy player had a quadruple bogey and five double bogeys with only five birdies to offset these scorecard wreckers.
Other Stirling students Harriet Beasley (Woburn) and Rebecca Wilson (Grange, Monifieth) tied for 36th place on 320.
Harriet, winner of the European universities' women's individual title in Slovenia last year, had rounds of 80, 80, 82 and 78.
Rebecca took 41 shots to the turn after a double bogey at the short fourth but she stuck to the task and returned her best inward half of the tournament - two-over 38 with birdies at the 10th and 13th but bogeys at the long 12th, short 14th, 16th and 18th. Her earlier rounds were 79, 84 and 78.
Jordana Graham (Southerness) saved her best for the last round as came joint 45th on 327 (80-85-87-75) and Mhairi McKay (West Kilbride) finished 69th on 351.
Young Mhairi, pictured left, deserves credit for returning her best score of the week in the final
round - an 81 being nine shots better than her opening score.


Oceanside Country Club, Ormond Beach , Florida .
Par 288 (4x72)
Players from US unless stated
276 Moriya Jutanugarn (Thai) 75 66 65 70.
279 Ariya Jutanugarn (Thai) 67 71 69 72.
280 Charley Hull (Eng) 72 68 70 70.
290 Alex Stewart 74 68 77 71
292 Jaye Marie Green 82 70 70 70.
294 Harin Lee 75 74 72 73.
296 Eilidh Briggs (Sco) 75 75 72 74
297 Emily Collins 79 72 71 75
298 Holly Clyburn (Eng) 75 68 77 78
305 Rachel Drummond (Eng) 83 75 75 72 (T14).
315 Hally Leadbetter (Eng) 80 73 82 80 (T28)
318 Kelsey MacDonald (Sco) 82 75 81 80 (T31)
320 Harriet Beasley (Eng) 80 80 82 78, Rebecca Wilson (Sco) 79 84 78 79 (T36).
327 Jordana Graham (Sco) 80 85 87 75 (T45)
351 Mhairi McKay (Sco) 90 91 89 81 (69th).

Making victory speech in English was tough for Moriya

By Beth Ann Baldry
ORMOND BEACH, Florida – Moriya Jutanugarn stared down at the card of scribble in her hand. The victory speech proved far more daunting for Moriya than beating her younger sister Ariya for the South Atlantic Amateur title. When Ariya went forward to collect her second-place trophy, Moriya slumped down to the floor. The last time she had addressed a roomful of people in English, she nearly wept.
Moriya’s effort drew applause from the members of Oceanside Country Club, who were smitten with that smile full of braces. The Jutanugarn sisters aren’t from around here, and their English is limited, but their friendly demeanour translates naturally.
One member even asked this scribe to video their tee shots with an iPhone. No doubt she wanted a lesson in precision. Earlier in the week, USGA officials made the trek to Ormond Beach to interview the Jutanugarns’ parents about the funding they receive at home in Thailand for international travel.
Moriya said the sisters weren’t privy to the conversations that took place during their second round and didn’t let the USGA’s inquiries affect their play. “I don’t know what they’re talking about,” Moriya said.
Moriya, 17, finished three strokes ahead of 16-year-old Ariya with a 12-under 276 total. Moriya closed with a 70 on the strength of six birdies, rebounding after opening bogey-double bogey at the start the final round.
Moriya said she told herself, “You have to come back.” She extended her lead to five through 13 holes.
England’s 15-year-old Charley Hull joined the Jutanugarns in the final group. Hull, the recent Harder Hall Invitational champion, plays with a quick, powerful swing. She finished four shots behind Moriya and should be a strong consideration for Great Britain and Ireland’s Curtis Cup team for the June 8-10 match in Scotland.
When Hull’s chip shot on the par-3 14th hung on the edge of the cup, she turned toward the gallery at the back of the green and said, “On the count of three, everyone blow.”
It was an amusing moment to an otherwise steady, uneventful display of golf. The brutally cold temperatures and harsh wind that have become the hallmark of "The Sally" were absent Saturday. It was fairly pleasant on the back nine, with a strong sun and barely a whisper of wind.
Ariya even wore shorts. Still, no one in the field broke 70. Moriya’s victory rested in large part on her second and third round scores of 66-65.
The two sisters decided not to ride together in one buggey, to avoid any potential controversy. They typically use their parents as caddies, but this week the two flew solo.
Competitively speaking, Moriya lives in her younger sister’s shadow, though her command of English makes her seem more outgoing. The smaller of the two, Moriya gained more recognition last summer with a runner-up showing at the U.S. Women’s Amateur, with Ariya on the bag.
Ariya is No. 1 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings and Moriya is second. The two show no outward jealousies toward each other’s success, though they do tease.
Midway through the final round, Ariya whined to Moriya about her poor putting. “Yes, I know,” Moriya replied. “I see it.”
But when asked if she was the better putter overall, Moriya said, “Maybe this week.”
The Jutanugarns have been on U.S. soil since before Christmas and return to Bangkok on Sunday, their bags bursting with pro-shop goodies and souvenir trophies.
They’ll wait to hear if they’ve been extended sponsor exemptions into the LPGA event in Thailand next month or the Kraft Nabisco Championship. In the meantime, they’ll go back to their studies, no doubt mulling over future victory speeches. They will be aplenty.