OWINGS MILL, Md. - Representing one’s country is unique. For the first time for many of these players in the field at the International Crown, they’ll get to do so as professionals. No one has a more unique vantage point, though, than Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn, who will do so not only as teammates but also sisters.
“It’s very nice to have a chance to play for Thailand and to have my sister on my team,” Ariya said. “I’m very excited.”
Ariya was even more excited because she hasn’t had the chance to see her sister in a couple of weeks. Moriya, the 2013 Rolex Rookie of the Year, plays on the LPGA Tour, while her sister plays on the Ladies European Tour. Ariya injured her shoulder at the 2013 Wegmans LPGA Championship after rising as high as No. 15 in the Rolex Rankings and was out for six to seven months. She estimates she’s now about 90 percent with her shoulder, and has been gaining her confidence back on the LET after not being able to play in LPGA Qualifying School last fall. So being back with her sister was welcomed for both.
“I was like, ‘Whoa, this is crazy golf. She’s come back [to the United States].’ We just enjoyed practice today,” Moriya said.
The two practiced together because they’ve been paired together when they tee off Thursday at 9 A.M. EST against the Spanish duo of Beatriz Recari and Belen Mozo. It’s good that the two are playing together because there’s some disagreement between the two on who would win if they played together.
“We played on the same team in Thailand sometimes for fun, but when we have a chance to play a match, I always beat her,” Ariya said, laughing.
“Well, but not that much,” Moriya corrected.
“4&3 is much for me, so…” Ariya argued.
One thing neither will argue: How fun it would be to win the International Crown for Thailand.
“I think we’re really confident – all my teammates,” Moriya said. “Like about everything, because we are a good team. We are really friendly, and we just hang out together all the time. We are pretty close.”