Ayaka Furue uses record day to blow away Women's Scottish field

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Lydia Ko, Celine Boutier and Maude-Aimee Leblanc comprised Sunday’s final threesome at the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open, Ko and Boutier tied for the lead with Leblanc a shot back entering the final round.

All three were mathematically eliminated from contention before teeing off on the par-5 18th hole at Dundonald Links.

That’s because Ayaka Furue, the 22-year-old reigning Japan LPGA player of the year, went out in the fourth-to-last group, four strokes off the lead after 54 holes, and orchestrated a remarkable comeback. She fired a course-record, 10-under 62 – a round fueled by a run of six straight birdies starting on the sixth hole – to not only win her first LPGA title but do so convincingly, by three shots at 21 under.

"I thought it would be difficult to catch the top, good players," Furue said. "But I'm very happy I played good golf and I was able to come out as a winner."

Furue carded 10 birdies in all, and impressively only one of them – at No. 18 – came on a par-5. During her six-birdie streak, she nearly holed mid-iron shots at the par-4 eighth and par-3 11th holes. She then sank a 40-footer for birdie at the par-3 15th to take her first lead.

She pulled away with birdies on each of her final two holes, including from 25 feet at the par-4 17th.

"I had the right mindset: I thought I had to go low, and I played very well," Furue said. "I hit good shots. All around my game was good, and the birdie putts I wanted to make and had to make, I was able to make."

The final group, meanwhile, combined for just 14 birdies and collectively shot 4 under. Boutier ended up solo second, a shot clear of Cheyenne Knight and Hyo Joo Kim. Ko was T-5 and Leblanc T-8.

"I feel like I wasn't able to get things going over this weekend, never really got off to like a good momentum," Ko said. "Overall, I played really solid. Even the last couple days, hit a couple not-so-good shots, but other than that, I feel like there were a lot of good things, and like I said, sometimes when you get in a good rhythm of things, you're able to keep it going.

"But I just was never on that train on this weekend, but hopefully this is a good momentum for next week."

Highlights: Furue wins Women's Scottish with birdie barrage

Furue had been solidly unspectacular in this her rookie season on the LPGA. In 15 starts prior to this week, she missed only two cuts but also posted just one top-10, a runner-up showing at the Bank of Hope LPGA Match Play. The year prior she won three times on the JLPGA, her home tour on which she’s won seven times since turning pro in 2019, before earning her LPGA card via Q-Series.

Climbing as high as 14th in the world rankings earlier this year, she had since dropped to No. 30, though she’ll take a big leap after Sunday’s breakthrough win.

"I didn't think I would win as a rookie," Furue said. "I'm very grateful and very happy that I was able to win at a links course."