Jutanugarn wins U.S. Women's Open in a playoff

"I've lost a few years off my life caddying for her", Les Luark said after Jutanugarn defeated Hyo Joo Kim to win the 73rd U.S. Women's Open with a par on their fourth playoff hole.

The 22-year-old from Thailand carried a four-stroke lead into the final round, but needed a play-off to overcome Kim Hyo-joo.

Her troubles coupled with some astonishing long-range putting from Kim produced a dramatic finale which had appeared unlikely halfway through the final round, and the pair finished 72 holes tied on 11 under when Kim returned a 67 while Jutanugarn bogeyed the final two holes to sign for a 73. The two went to sudden death, and Jutanugarn beat Kim with a par on the second sudden death hole.

Anyone who watched surely enjoyed the affair, and they may also have been clued into a specific visual: Jutanugarn applauding successful shots made by Kim during their one-on-one playoff.

She joins Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb, Se Ri Pak and Inbee Park as the only players to win both the United States women's Open and the British Open.

The second round, which was interrupted by a long lightning delay, was completed earlier on Saturday.

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Garber, who played golf at Georgia, started the final round at the TPC Wakefield three shots behind Michael Johnson, who ran into trouble on the front nine and closed out that side with a double bogey.

And then after a stunning mistake at the 10th tee, she looked as if she were going to join Arnold Palmer in the annals of historic collapses.

"I could see she was getting in that mode where she was starting to think about what could happen", Luark said. "So we had a really good lesson before Kingsmill (two weeks ago) and then I actually missed the cut but felt like I played really well". Back-to-back bogeys to close from the Thai, for an 11 under par aggregate, conceded the two-stroke lead restored at the 16th and meant the play-off which all onlookers, in reality, expected her to lose.

Of the other Australians in the field, last week's victor Minjee Lee is two over through six holes of her second round and is tied for 38 place. "It's pretty tough, but I don't put too much expectation on me".

"Honestly I tried to smile", she said.

The only player who didn't make on a bogey in the final round, Kim sank some monster putts for birdies, including a 30-footer on No. 6, a 45-footer on No. 12 and a hard-breaking 50-footer from off the green on No. 15 that got her within one. "Not because I want them to play golf, but because I want them to have a good life". She nabbed two more birdies before the turn and another at the par-five third before her only bogey of the day, a three-putt at eight. It was more of the same for a while Sunday when she extended her lead to seven shots. Korean-born Su-Hyun Oh shot 68 and is also 6 under.

  • Lawrence Cooper