But later that summer, Aree had a magnificent
performance at the US Women's Open, finishing fifth. She was
only two shots out of the playoff that ended up crowning the
champion, and for a while, it looked like she might be in
it herself. This performance convinced her to turn pro rather
than go to college, and for the first time, the Wonder Twins
were pursuing different paths.
She attended LPGA Q-School in the Fall and
easily made her tour card, finishing in a tie for 4th. However,
she would not be 18, the minimum age to play on the LPGA tour,
until May, and needed special permission from the LPGA Commissioner
to play. Due to her fabulous talent and poise, she was granted
that permission, and was the youngest player on tour in 2004.
Aree had a fantastic Rookie year, and she
peaked early. At the 2004 Nabisco Championship in March, still
only 17 years old, she went into the final round tied for
the lead with Grace Park. Going into the final hole, she was
two shots behind Grace, but played the most fantastic hole
of the entire LPGA season by any player, hitting the island
green in 2 and draining the eagle putt to force Grace to make
a birdie to beat her. Grace did make the birdie, but few will
forget Aree's heroics.
Aree played well the rest of the season, but
Shi Hyun Ahn beat her for Rookie of the Year. Aree finished
28th on the money list, however, an excellent result.
2005 was more of a struggle for Aree. She
did manage 2 top ten finishes, but nothing higher than a 9th
place finish. She ended up 59th on the money list, a big step
down from her rookie performance. Still, it was not a terrible
year, and she easily maintained her tour card.
Aree continued to struggle with her game in
2006. Although she did manage a third place finish at the
Safeway International, and another at the Mizuno Classic,
those were her only top tens of the year, and she only finished
47th on the money list.
2007 was a weak year for Aree. She only managed
one top ten, at the SemGroup, and barely maintained her exempt
card, finishing 88th on the money list. She was sidelined
much of 2008 with a mysterious illness that prevented her
from playing at all until October.
In 2009, Aree missed the cut almost every
time she teed it up, and did not play at all after early July.
Apparently, her health was still an issue. In 2010, she continued
to struggle, making just under $28,000 all season. She made
plans to play in Korea, qualifying successfully for the KLPGA
tour. But she shocked everyone by winning LPGA Qualifying
School in December, earning full status on tour for 2011.
Aree made just $29,000 in 2011, finishing
107th on the money list. That was good enough to secure category
11 status for 2012. But she took a medical leave that year
and did not play at all. She has not played since. Although
she still has category 21 status, she has retired from tournament
golf. At last report, she is working in Thailand at a company
called 54 Degrees Golf, which develops golfers in that country.