Ever since Sung Hyun Park won the 2017 U.S. Women's Open, she's been waiting to win another major. That's her mindset, winning is placed at a premium. Park collected her second major with a birdie on the second playoff hole to defeat So Yeon Ryu on Sunday at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship.
It was a small miracle that Park even found her way into the playoff. Her approach on hole 16, when she was one back of the lead, was inches from going into the water. She had to hit a flop shot standing inches from the water, with the ball nestled under the high grass around the lake. She hit a perfect flop to 3-feet and saved par. Ryu made birdie right before the par save to build a two-shot lead with two left. Then, Ryu made the mistake that let Park back in by hitting her tee shot on the par 3, 17th into the water. She made double bogey and dropped back into a three-way tie.
On the first playoff hole, Ryu drained a 20-footer for birdie and Park responded to extend with a 15-footer. Nasa Hataoka, who fired a 64 to come from nine shots back to get into the playoff, missed her birdie attempt and was eliminated.
After Ryu missed her birdie attempt on the second playoff hole, Park rolled her's in and raised her two hands in the air and then was overwhelmed with emotion. It's been a wild year for Park. While she now is one of only two players with two wins this season, she also has five missed cuts.
Jessica Korda Responds to MC at U.S. Women’s Open
Four of the top 10 finishers on Sunday were American golfers including Jessica Korda, who finished T4. Despite a 75 in round two, Korda was still able to climb the leaderboard on Sunday with a 68 for her fifth top 10 of the year. It’s an important result for Korda because the 25-year-old had struggled recently with two MCs in her last three starts entering the year's third major. Korda started the year strong with a win and four total top 10s in her first six starts, but hasn't had a top 10s in her last five starts before finishing T4 on Sunday.
The trend that has sparked Korda this year has been her performance in first rounds. She fired a first round in the 60s in 10 of her 12 starts.
Park Secures Her Spot on Team Republic of Korea
Sung Hyun Park was in the third spot on Team Republic of Korea entering the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. While she most likely was going to make the team, there was doubt because Hye Jin Choi was one spot behind her in the world rankings and In Kyung Kim was just two spots behind. Park left zero doubt that she would part of the four-person team with her win on Sunday. The KPMG Women's PGA Championship was the final week to qualify. The heavily favored Team Republic of Korea will feature Inbee Park, Sung Hyun Park, So Yeon Ryu and In-Kyung Kim, who finished in a tie for 8th on Sunday to jump past Hye Jin Choi for the fourth spot on the team.
Park moves to No. 2 in the world while Ryu moved up a spot to No. 4. Kim is No. 7 so four of the top seven players in the Rolex world rankings are from Korea.
Angel Yin Shows Star Potential
Angel Yin made seven birdies on Sunday and shot just 1-under and tied for fourth, her best finish in a major championship.
“I fought, I played well,” said Yin. “I’m starting to play better so I’m going to ride this momentum going into the next two weeks.”
It’s her first top 10 since late April when she finished T3 at the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship.
After an opening 73, Yin turned in rounds of 69-68-71 to pocket over $170,000.
Nasa Quickly Becoming a Millionaire on LPGA
The last time a Japanese player earned a million dollars in a single-season was 2016 when Haru Nomura pocketed seven figures. Ai Miyazato did it four years in a row from 2009-2012. Young Nasa Hataoka is well on her way to a million dollars of on-course earnings. In just 14 starts, she has amassed $932,952, which is second most on the LPGA this season. She’s earned $590,806 over the last two weeks after her win in Arkansas and the tie for second in Illinois.
Hataoka is 31-under over her last seven rounds.
Three Majors, Three Top 10s for Charley Hull
Charley Hull turned in a 67 on Sunday at Kemper Lakes to finish in a tie for sixth, her third top 10 at the majors this season. She finished T10 at the U.S. Women’s Open and T6 at the ANA Inspiration. Hull is the only player that has finished inside the top 10 in each of the majors. Hull has been consistent outside the majors too. She has made the cut in each of her 13 starts. Hull has been a birdie machine this year as she ranks third on Tour in the category.