In Gee Chun of South Korean made the best of her very first appearance in the U.S. Women’s Open Championship Conducted by the USGA and shot a 66 on Sunday for a come-from-behind victory over Amy Yang. Chun, who is a member of the KLPGA and JLPGA, started the day four shots off the lead and birdied three of her final four holes to finish at 8-under par 272 and one shot clear of Yang who struggled on Sunday and closed with a 71. Chun recorded seven birdies and three bogeys on the day and her four-day total of 272 matched Annika Sorenstam (1996) and Juli Inkster (1999) for the championship scoring record.
Chun made four previous starts on the LPGA Tour this season and said those experiences have led her to great success this season in Korea and this week in Lancaster.
“This year at the beginning of the season I played four tournaments at LPGA,” said Chun. “I had a great experience from those four tournaments and that has led to three wins in Korea and one major win in Japan. And with that, with all those four wins this year, I got a lot of confidence bringing into this tournament. And that’s why I could enjoy every moment of the tournament.”
Chun got off to a fast start with birdies on Nos. 1 and 3 to get to 6-under par and within two shots of Yang and made the turn within striking distance. Yang missed a 12-foot par putt on No. 11 to drop her third shot of the day and dropped to 7-under par and Chun responded with a birdie on the 12th hole to get within one shot.
Rolex Rankings No. 3 Stacy Lewis showed her usual grit and fought back from a double bogey on the par-4 5th hole with birdies on No. 7 and then the 13th hole to get into a tie for second with Chun and within one shot of Yang. The final four holes of the championship unfolded with plenty of drama and momentum changes.
Yang hit her 25-foot birdie putt on No. 14 four feet past the hole and missed her par putt coming back to drop into a tie with Chun and Lewis at 6-under par. Chun then went on a streak of three-consecutive birdies on Nos. 15-17 to get to 9-under par but Yang kept fighting and eagled the 16th and birdied the 17th to get within one shot.
“I actually saw it,” Yang said on seeing her position on the leaderboard. “I really tried hard last three holes, final three holes, just to get there. It was tough.”
Chun, who was playing one group in front of Yang, missed her 12-foot par putt on the 18th hole to open the door for Yang. But after spinning her approach shot 10 feet in front of the hole, Yang failed to convert on her par putt and to force a playoff.