Korea's Ryu So-yeon charges into lead at Women's PGA Championship

Hope Soto
July 5, 2018

After Park and Ryu birdied the first extra hole to eliminate Hataoka, Park clinched victory at the next with another birdie at Kemper Lakes in Kildeer, Illinois.

South Korean Park Sung-hyun won her second major title when she overcame compatriot Ryu So-yeon and Japan's Nasa Hataoka in a three-way playoff at the Women's PGA Championship outside Chicago on Sunday.

The PGA Championship is returning to Baltusrol, and the Women's PGA is going to the fabled New Jersey course for the first time.

Ryu finished with three birdies in the final five holes to catch Park, who faltered with a bogey at her 16th hole, the par-five seventh. Park made a brilliant par save on 16.

And nobody had ever shot lower than 65 in the final round of this championship, which inherited the LPGA Championship records going back to 1955. With a 2-shot lead, her tee shot sailed left of the green into the water hazard.

Hataoka, 19, won her first LPGA title last week in Arkansas and with more than US$546,000 in the past eight days has eclipsed her prior career earnings.

It was a small miracle that Park even found her way into the playoff.

Ryu started the day in the lead and stumbled out of the gate with a double bogey on the second hole, dropping her score to nine under par. Park, who was four strokes behind, shot three birdies for a 69.

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The back-to-back birdies by Ryu and two late bogeys by Henderson turned things in a hurry. "I had trouble with my putts, and I couldn't pick up the momentum. I think I lack that sense of tension".

The playoff resumed about 20 minutes later, and following Ryu's miss, Park drained her putt to clinch the championship. It wasn't clear where the water ended, but Park and Jones discussed how to extract the ball from the pond's edge, and Park opted to use her 58-degree wedge and play it like a bunker shot.

She also worked on stabilizing her putting by changing her routine on the green.

Park almost took a one-shot lead at the 17th, but her long birdie attempt lipped out. In just 14 starts, she has amassed $932,952, which is second most on the LPGA this season. With the win, she took home total prize money of $547,500. After a greenside wedge shot ran too far past the hole for her liking on the 11th hole, she buried the club into her bag, snapping the shaft in two. 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. "Definitely God helped me out there", she said.

Ciganda is trying to win a major for the first time.

Park said Jones, who has been on her bag since May past year, helped her stay calm in stressful situations.

Though Park won a tournament in May, Park has missed the cuts in three out the five tournaments since then. "She also had to battle herself to win this one".

Hataoka chipped in from a back bunker on No. 7 and added a second eagle on No. 11.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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