Ariya Jutanugarn to defend title at 37th Junior PGA Championship

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand, who cruised to victory in the 2011 Junior PGA Championship, is scheduled to defend her title in the Girls’ Division at the 37th Junior PGA Championship presented by Under Armour and Heritage Food Service Group. The Championship will be hosted at Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne, Ind., July 31-Aug. 3.

Jutanugarn took a 10-stroke lead into the final round last year, and finished with a final-round 70 and 273 total, to win by that same margin.

“I won this tournament and it felt so good,” said Jutanugarn. “I was happy for myself, my family and my sister.”

Her sister, Moriya Jutanugarn, who will also be competing in this year’s Championship, tied for 5th in 2011.

Ariya, the top-ranked junior by Golfweek and Polo Golf, matched the 54-hole Championship scoring mark and came within two strokes of Aree Song’s all-time championship scoring record of 271.

“I just had to play my normal game,” said Jutanugarn, “I love the golf course [Sycamore Hills].”

Cody Proveaux of Leesburg, S.C., who claimed the Boys’ title last year and is a Clemson University commitment, will not be competing.

In addition to playing for a Championship title, players will attempt to earn a spot on the 2012 U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Team. The United States team, comprised of six boys and six girls who are U.S. citizens, will face a European squad of junior golfers, Sept. 24-25, at Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club.

The winner and runner-up in both the boys’and girls’ division earn an automatic spot on the team.

The 72-hole Championship will feature a 54-hole cut to the low 30 boys and 30 girls, including ties. Each year, the 156-player field includes past winners of the Championship, PGA Junior Series event champions, PGA Section winners, many of Polo Golf and Golfweek’s top-ranked players, and selected national junior tournament winners.

Golf Channel will present a one-hour highlight show of the Championship on Monday, Sept. 17 at 8 p.m. ET.

Begun in 1976, the Junior PGA Championship has traditionally produced unforgettable golf performances and brings together the best junior golfers from around the country to compete for the Jack Nicklaus Trophy in the Boys’ Division and the Patty Berg Trophy in the Girls’ Division.

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