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World No.1 duel set for Women's Aust Open

NZN 5/01/2017

Ariya Jutanugarn, the hottest player in golf, has committed to continue her battle with Lydia Ko for the world No.1 ranking at next month's Women's Australian Open.

The 21-year-old Thai shot to superstardom as she outduelled the prolific Ko for 2016 player of the year honours with five LPGA Tour wins including the Women's British Open.

The world No.2 joins a field already including Ko, defending champion Haru Nomura and top-ranked Australians Minjee Lee, five-time champion Karrie Webb and Su Oh in the Women's Australian Open field from February 16-19 at Royal Adelaide.

Tournament director Trevor Herden was ecstatic Jutanugarn and her sister Moriya had decided to return to Australia for the first time since 2015, when Ariya was third behind Ko at Royal Melbourne.

"We have always admired the way both Ariya and Moriya played, but to see Ariya take such a massive step forward last year was testament to her great talent," Herden said.

"Nobody in world golf, men's or women's, was hotter than Ariya last year ... she plays attacking golf and we're sure that all the fans who come to Royal Adelaide to watch her play will be in for a treat."

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