The final hole arrived with Lee just one behind and when she hit her approach to seven feet and Jutanugarn was well short of the green it appeared a two-shot swing might just see Lee win outright.
Jutanugarn hit a superb pitch and run from 40 yards and Lee then missed her chance to force a playoff, Jutanaugarn not only winning the title but regaining her standing as the female game’s number one golfer.
There was a four-shot gap back to the Australian Open Champion Jin Young Ko and her fellow Korean Haeji Kang who shared 3rd place.
Lee joined the lead with two early birdies but when Jutanugarn and her fellow 54 hole leader Amy Yang both birdied the 8th she was one behind.
Lee fell two behind when Jutanugarn birdied the 9th but birdied the 10th and 11th holes stay within one of Jutanugarn who herself was on a roll with four birdies in five holes in that stretch.
As Yang began to lose her way over the final nine holes it developed into a battle between Jutanugarn and Lee for the title the pair matching strides over the inward nine. Both birdied the 16th and arrived at the par 4 18th with just one shot separating the pair.
Jutanugarn’s brilliant pitch and run to less than a foot at the last meant that Lee was forced to convert her superb approach from the fairway but the very makeable putt was missed and she would finish runner-up.
“I think overall, I played really well this whole week,” said Lee. “I mean, it was a great tournament and congratulations to Ariya.”
"I was striking the ball pretty well and putting probably the best I have out of the last three days, four days. So overall it was a good week and looking forward to next week,” she added referring to the Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes next week.
Lee is now 3rd on the 2018 money list with earnings of US$917,000.
Jutanugarn on the other hand was delighted to have conquered her concerns about winning on a links golf course.
“It means a lot to me to win the tournament,” said Jutanugarn. “I told the caddie this week, you know, what I really want to win on a links course, even one time in my life will be good, so right now my dream come true.
“I feel a lot better with links course, so I hope I play okay next week."
Jutanugarn’s win at the Women’s British Open in 2016 was at the inland Woburn Golf Club but she will now head south tomorrow as the favourite in many people’s eyes to win female golf’s fourth major of the year in Lancashire.
Of the other Australians in the field Karrie Webb impressed with her 11th place finish and heads to Royal Lytham not without hopes of an 8th major championship. Webb last won the Women’s British Open at Turnberry in 2002.
Sarah Kemp was 28th, Katherine Kirk and Su Oh 44th and Sarah Jane Smith 65th.
IDENTIFYING THE UNMARKED GOLF BALL
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