New York – Ariya Jutanugarn has become the No 1 women’s golfer in the world without even having to pick up a club this weekend.
Ariya won elevation to No 1, when the only other woman who could beat her, Korean Ryu So-Yeon, missed the cut at the LPGA ShopRite Classic to confirm the shift in rankings. Ryu, ranked third in the world, could have leapfrogged Ariya by finishing third or better in the tournament at Galloway, New Jersey, near New York. But she failed even to qualify. She fired back-to-back rounds of three-over 74 to miss the second-round cut in the 54-hole tournament, where South Korea’s Kim In-Kyung and American Paula Creamer shared the 36-hole lead.
Ko spent 84 weeks at the top, and has been ranked No.1 for 103 weeks overall, a record. Ko has fallen into a slump this year, winning no tournaments and rarely finishing in the top 10. Ariya becomes the first Thai and 10th player to reach Number One since the women’s rankings were introduced in 2006. Swede Annika Sorenstam was the first player to have the honour and was subsequently followed by Lorena Ochoa, Shin Ji-yai, Ai Miyazato, Cristie Kerr, Yani Tseng, Stacy Lewis, Park In-bee and Ko. Mexican Ochoa holds the record for the longest stint as world number one at 158 weeks.