Ariya Jutanugarn is inching closer to making history by becoming the first Thai player to win a Major Championship.
The 20-year-old from Bangkok started the final round with a two stroke lead over South Korean Mirim Lee but increased her lead to four strokes after she birdied the third hole, which Lee double bogeyed. Lee then bogeyed the fourth and Jutanugarn went five clear.
A second birdie from Jutanugarn on the sixth saw her extend her lead to six strokes. However, the 2014 champion Mo Martin from the United States closed the gap to five after making long birdie putts at the seventh and eighth.
Jutanugarn found the bunker left of the ninth green and took her first bogey for a tidy front nine of 35 and a total of 17-under-par through the turn, four ahead of Martin.
The world number seven, Jutanugarn is forecasted to move to world number three with a victory on the Marquess’ Course at Woburn, worth £310,838.
An all-time major championship scoring record is still well within reach. The record in a women’s major is 19-under-par, by Dottie Pepper (1999 Kraft Nabisco Championship), Karen Stupples (2004 Women’s British Open), Cristie Kerr (2010 LPGA Championship) and Yani Tseng (2011 Wegmans LPGA Championship).
The record in a men’s Major in relation to par is 20-under by Henrik Stenson during the 2016 Open Championship at Royal Troon and Jason Day at the 2015 PGA Championship.
However, after an unimpressive front nine, Lee recorded three birdies in a row from the 12th and had narrowed the gap to three strokes after 12 holes.
Mo Martin, a stroke further behind, knows how to win a Ricoh Women’s British Open having captured her first Major at Royal Birkdale and she went out in 34 so is still capable of unseating Jutanugarn.
The young Thai, who won three straight LPGA titles in May, where she held the 54-hole lead each time, had a near miss at the first Major of the year, the ANA Inspiration in California.
She had a two shot lead with three holes to play and bogeyed the last three holes, however since then she has been honing her mental skills and has added a smile to her pre-shot routine.