June 4, 2017 / 4:04 AM / 3 months ago

Golf - Thai Ariya to replace Ko as world number one

April 1, 2017; Rancho Mirage, CA, USA; Ariya Jutanugarn hits from the second course tee box during the third round of the ANA Inspiration golf tournament at Mission Hills CC - Dinah Shore Tournament Course. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports/Files

(Reuters) - Ariya Jutanugarn will replace Lydia Ko as the top ranked player in women's golf after her rival for number one spot, South Korea's Ryu So-yeon, missed the cut at the ShopRite LPGA Classic in New Jersey on Saturday.

Ko, who has held top spot for 84 weeks, is not playing in the event and was certain to relinquish her crown to either Ariya, another absentee in New Jersey, or Ryu, who had to finish at least third to displace the New Zealander.

However, the South Korean, who won her second LPGA major at the ANA Inspiration in April, bowed out early in New Jersey, thereby ensuring Ariya would become number one when the rankings are released on Sunday.

The 21-year-old from Bangkok will become the 10th player, and the first from Thailand, to hold top spot since the rankings were created in 2006.

Swede Annika Sorenstam was the first player to have the honour and was subsequently followed by Lorena Ochoa, Shin Ji-yai, Ai Miyazato, Cristie Kerr, Yani Tseng, Stacy Lewis, Park In-bee and Ko.

Mexican Ochoa holds the record for the longest stint as world number one at 158 weeks.

Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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