Ariya survives rollercoaster round to win US Women’s Open
Ariya Jutanugarn parred the fourth playoff hole to beat Kim Hyo-joo for the 73rd US Women’s Open title on Sunday and become the first player from Thailand to lift the trophy.
The 22-year-old Ariya captured her second major championship as she parred all four playoff holes at the Shoal Creek, Alabama course.
She finished with a one-over par 73 and a 72-hole total of 11-under 277, making it into the playoff despite a monumental back-nine collapse that saw her seven-stroke lead evaporate.
South Korea’s Kim closed with a five-under 67 to force the playoff and had two long putts to win in the extra session but couldn’t get them to fall.
Both parred the third hole and they returned to the par-four 18th, where Ariya’s superb bunker shot left her with a tap in for the win.
She had appeared to be headed to victory hours earlier, after a birdie at the ninth hole moved her to 16-under and a seven-stroke lead.
But her lead had dwindled to just one as she headed to the final hole of regulation, where her long putt to win failed to drop.
Ariya’s collapse began with a triple bogey seven on number 10 and continued with a bogey at 12.
She carried the meltdown through with back-to-back bogeys on 17 and 18.
She righted the ship in the playoff which went to a sudden death format after the two-hole aggregate start failed to produce a winner.
Not only does Ariya become the first Thai to win a US Women’s Open title but she is the first champion from a country other than South Korea or the US since Sweden’s Annika Sorenstam in 2006.
She is also the first multiple winner of the 2018 LPGA Tour season having already won the Kingsmill Championship.
Kim, chasing a second major title to go with her 2014 Evian Championship, had five birdies in her bogey-free round.
Spain’s Carlota Ciganda shot a three-under 69 to finish alone in third place, four strokes back of Kim and Ariya.
American Danielle Kang (69) was four shots back of Ciganda in solo fourth.
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