Ariya Jutanugarn struggled to a final-round 73 but outlasted Hyo Woo Kim in a four-hole playoff to claim victory at the 73rd U.S. Women’s Open – her second major title.
Entering the day with a four-stoke lead over Sarah Jane Smith and six clear of Kim, Jutanugarn’s front-nine 32 had ballooned her advantage to seven strokes. But a triple bogey on the 10th hole followed by a bogey on No. 12 quickly shaved the Thai’s lead down to just two strokes over Kim, and after back-to-back bogeys to close (Nos. 17 and 18), the 22-year old’s lead had evaporated.
In just nine holes Jutanugarn had dropped from 18 under into a tie with Kim at 11-under par, four strokes ahead of Carlota Ciganda, who finished 7 under. Danielle Kang was alone in fourth, but eight strokes back at 3-under par 285, with Lexi Thompson, Wei-Ling Hsu, amateur Patty Tavatanakit and Smith at 2-under 286.
Playing Shoal Creek’s 14th and 18th in the USGA’s new two-hole aggregate playoff format, Kim dropped a 30-foot birdie putt on the first hole – the par-4 14th – while Jutanugarn made a par-4. On the second hole – the par-4 18th – both Jutanugarn and Kim missed the green, but the Thai made a great up and down for par while Kim carded a bogey-5 to extend the playoff to sudden death.
After both made par on the third playoff hole – No. 14, the players moved on to the fourth and final overtime hole – No 18. Both players landed their approaches in the bunker, with Kim leaving her bunker shot some 15 feet, while Jutanugarn landed hers to 18 inches. After Kim missed, Jutanugarn tapped in, picked up her ball and started to tremble.
She was the U.S. Women’s Open champion!
“I’m really honored to join the list of winners before me,” said Jutanugarn, who becomes just the fifth player to win both the U.S. Women’s Open and the Ricoh Women’s British Open, joining Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb, Se Ri Pak and Inbee Park.
“On the front nine, I did everything I want to do, but that back got me a lot.”
With her win, Jutanugarn earns $900,000, giving her $1,704,614 on the season and $6,287,946 in her career. She is projected to move to No. 2 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.
FINAL TOP 10
1 Ariya Jutanugarn -11
2 Hyo Joo Kim -11
3 Carlota Ciganda -7
4 Danielle Kang -3
5 Lexi Thompson -2
5 Patty Tavatanakit-2
5 Wei Ling Hsu -2
5 Sarah Jane Smith -2
9 Inbee Park -1
10 Michelle Wie E
10 Charley Hull E
10 Nasa Hataoka E
10 Angela Stanford E
10 Nelly Korda E
10 Megan Khang E
1 Brittany Lincicome -261.86 (T25)
2 Lexi Thompson – 260.01 (T5)
3 Rumi Yoshiba – 258.55 (40)
32 Ariya Jutanugarn – 236.63 (1)
1 Hyo-Joo Kim – 51/54 91.7% (2)
2 Lizette Salas – 50/54 89.3% (T17)
3 Lucy Li (a) – 49/54 87.5% (T3)
39 Ariya Jutanugarn – 37/54 (1)
1 Patty Tavatanakit (a) – 54/72 75.0% (T5)
2 Charley Hull – 52/72 72.2% (T10)
3 Marina Alex – 51/72 70.8% (T27)
3 Jin Young Ko – 51/72 70.8% (T17)
3 Nelly Korda – 51/72 70.8% (T10)
3 Carlota Ciganda – 51/72 70.8% (3)
3 Ariya Jutanugarn – 51/72 70.8% (1)
VIDEO: FINAL-ROUND HIGHLIGHTS
“You know, after you have like seven-shot lead and end up with you have to go to playoff, I have no expectations because I kind of got mad a little bit with my back-nine but okay. So if I have a playoff I’m going to make sure I do my best every shot because I feel like I didn’t commit to the back-nine. I feel I have last chance to make myself proud or do the shot in front of me.”
– Ariya Jutanugarn