Jutanugarn making her mark with impressive debut season

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Updated: 5/06/2013 5:05 pm

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - There is a new name on the rise in the LPGA and it is 17-year-old Ariya Jutanugarn.

Jutanugarn, who is currently a member of the Ladies European Tour, has made four starts on the LPGA Tour this season, finishing inside the top five at each stop.

Her most recent start was at this past weekend's Kingsmill Championship, where she held the lead at the end of the first and second rounds before tripping to a 2-over 73 during the third round.

She bounced back with a 5-under 66 on Sunday to finish the tournament at 10- under, falling two strokes short of joining the playoff between Cristie Kerr and Suzann Pettersen to end in a tie with Ilhee Lee for third.

"It very enjoyable because, you know, today made me like really confident because I never played good in the wind," Jutanugarn said at the end of her final round.

And it is only going to get more enjoyable for the teenager if she keeps playing at the pace she is now.

Jutanugarn has earned $404,970 at LPGA events this season, which would place her fifth on the money list, and her four top-10 finishes would place her in a tie for third in that category if she were able to qualify.

Both of those results are better than those of her 18-year-old sister Moriya, who is the leader for the LPGA's rookie of the year award.

Adding to those stats is that Ariya leads the LET in scoring average at 69.43 and is ranked inside the top 15 in fairways in regulation, greens in regulation and putts per round. She owns a victory at the Lalla Meryem Cup.

She also has finished in a tie for second at the Volvik RACV Ladies Masters on her home tour.

Her other two starts on the LET have resulted in ties for 25th and 12th at the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women's Open and World Ladies Championship, respectively.

That's eight finishes inside the top 25 and no missed cuts this season, which was good enough to move her to No. 18 in this week's world rankings.

"You know, she just doesn't think about it that much and just bombs it 50 yards past me," said world No. 1 Inbee Park, who played alongside Jutanugarn during the final round of the Kingsmill Championship. "She's playing really easy out here."

Jutanugarn will not compete in the LET's event this week, the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open, as she said she will play in the Monday qualifier of the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic on May 13.

The way she has been playing, it almost seems a given Jutanugarn will earn a spot at the event and be a contender come the weekend.

But whether or not that happens, it is safe to say Jutanugarn's time on the LET will be short and she will soon become a staple member on the LPGA Tour.

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