1, -11 (277) – Ariya Jutanugarn
2, -11 (277) – Hyo Joo Kim
Two-Hole Aggregate Playoff, followed by Sudden Death
Playoff Hole 1, par-4 14th – Kim 3, Jutanugarn 4
Playoff Hole 2, par-4 18th – Jutanugarn 4, Kim 5
Playoff Hole 3, par-4 14th – Jutanugarn 4, Kim 4
Playoff Hole 4, par-4 18th – Jutanugarn 4, Kim 5
ARIYA JUTANUGARN OUTLASTS HYO JOO KIM IN FOUR-HOLE PLAYOFF TO WIN U.S. WOMEN’S OPEN
On a Sunday in which Hyo Joo Kim tested her by applying withering pressure with a sizzling putter, Ariya Jutanugarn captured the 73rd U.S. Women’s Open conducted by the USGA after a week at Shoal Creek that was one of the most demanding in major championship history. With washed out practice rounds, early wake up calls and weather delays, it was fitting that it took four playoff holes before Jutanugarn claimed the trophy from Kim and recorded her second major championship victory.
On a day that had more plot twists than one of the Thai soap operas Jutanugarn loves, Ariya entered the final round with a four-stroke lead over Sarah Jane Smith and six ahead of Kim, Jutanugarn had the pressure of protecting a lead large enough that if she didn’t win the word “collapse” would be tossed around. That pressure intensified when she took a seven-stroke lead over Kim to the back nine on Sunday after a blistering 32 on the front.
But her first poor swing of the day led to a triple bogey on No. 10 and, while Ariya struggled to a 41 on the back nine, Kim was rolling in putts from all over Alabama as she shot a 67 in the only bogey-free round of the final day. On No. 12, Kim made a 40-foot birdie putt and on No. 15 she holed it from 50 feet, putting from off the green to get within one.
After Jutanugarn missed a 12-foot par putt on No. 18 that would have won the tournament, Ariya and Kim finished 72 holes tied at 11-under-par 277, four strokes ahead of Carlota Ciganda. Danielle Kang was fourth at 285 with Lexi Thompson, Wei-Ling Hsu, amateur Patty Tavatanakit and Smith at 286. Because of the victory, Jutanagarn is projected to move to No. 2 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.
For more from Ron Sirak, visit: www.lpga.com/news/2018-us-womens-open-final-recap
TIED FOR FIFTH? SMITH WILL TAKE IT
Sunday afternoon, it didn’t take long for Sarah Jane Smith’s major hopes to fade. The 36-hole leader, who trailed Jutanugarn by four to start the day, stumbled early with three bogeys on her outward nine. Smith played in the final group alongside 54-hole leader, Ariya Jutanugarn, who she trailed by nine-strokes at the turn. While the Aussie settled for a final round 78, her T5 finish is her best in a major championship.
“Today, I hit a few more squirrelly shots,” Smith admitted. “I think I ran out of gas on the back nine. Such a big week, I think. Things weren’t going the right way and I conked out a little bit.”
Smith picked up her first top 10 of the year at Shoal Creek. And while her 223rd start on Tour didn’t become her maiden victory, she will take away the invaluable experience of having contended for the first time in a major championship.
For “Five Things to Know” from Amy Rogers, visit: www.lpga.com/news/2018-five-things-to-know-final-round-us-womens-open
Carlota Ciganda, Spain (281):
“At the beginning of the year I’m a little slow and after I play five, six events I think I started getting, start warming up. I like the summer. You have the biggest tournaments now so I just try to focus on those ones, all the majors and all the big ones. I have really good events the last month and a half, very happy with my game. I just want to keep working and win a tournament.”
Danielle Kang, USA (285):
“The golf course was impeccable this week. I know there was a lot of talk between whether the golf course is wet but out of all that rain, the golf course is in great shape. I know it’s softer than the way the USGA probably wanted it to play. However, it’s still really tough. They played it long. It was a U.S. Open golf course and I wouldn’t expect anything less. If you take one focus off of it double is just right around the corner.”
Sarah Jane Smith, Australia (286):
“Obviously it feels a little disappointing right now. In reality, I missed five cuts in a row like six weeks — over the last six weeks. So I feel like if you would have said after Kingsmill when I had missed my fifth one in a row, would you take a Top 5 at the U.S. Women’s Open? I think I might have taken it. I have got to think of it that way, that I have lot of good progress in the last two weeks alone. Hopefully this is setting me up for a nice summer.”
Ariya Jutanugarn is the first U.S. Women’s Open champion from Thailand
Jutanugarn earns her second major title, joining her win at the 2016 Ricoh Women’s British Open
Jutanugarn is the first multiple winner of the 2018 LPGA Tour season, joining her win at the Kingsmill Championship presented by GEICO
With her birdie at No. 9 to reach -16, Jutanugarn tied Juli Inkster in 1999 for the most strokes under par at any time during a U.S. Women’s Open
Jutanugarn and Brooke Henderson are the only players with LPGA Tour wins in 2016, 2017 and 2018
Jutanugarn is one of three players to compete in all 14 LPGA events in 2018 and the only player to make all 14 cuts
This was the second time Jutanugarn has made the cut in her six U.S. Women’s Open starts; she started 70-75-69 in 2016 and finished T17
Hyo Joo Kim was playing in her fourth U.S. Women’s Open; her best finish was T38 in 2016, the only previous year she made the cut
Kim started the day six strokes behind 54-hole leader Jutanugarn; she played her final 31 holes in 10-under par to force the first two-hole aggregate playoff in USGA history
Carlota Ciganda finished third for her best career major finish; she previously finished T4 at the 2015 ANA Inspiration and T5 at the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open
Danielle Kang finished fourth for her best career U.S. Women’s Open finish, besting her T14 showing in 2012
Lexi Thompson finished tied for fifth for her best career U.S. Women’s Open finish, besting her seventh-place finish in 2014
Wei-Ling Hsu’s tie for fifth was her best career U.S. Women’s Open finish; she had never made the cut in four previous playings
Sarah Jane Smith finished tied for fifth for her best career U.S. Women’s Open finish, besting her T46 showing in 2014
ROLEX WOMEN’S WORLD GOLF RANKINGS PROJECTIONS
With her win, Ariya Jutanugarn is projected to move to No. 2 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings behind World No. 1 Inbee Park. Jutanugarn held the top spot for two weeks in 2017.
Lexi Thompson is projected to remain at No. 3 thanks to her tie for fifth, while Shanshan Feng is projected to drop to No. 4 after she missed the cut at Shoal Creek. Sung Hyun Park, who also missed the cut, rounds out the top five.
UL INTERNATIONAL CROWN COUNTDOWN
It’s down to the wire for countries to qualify for the UL International Crown, to be held Oct. 4-7 at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in Incheon, Republic of Korea. The eight qualifying countries will be determined when the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings are released on June 4, while players will be determined following the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship on July 2.
Team USA sits second going into tomorrow’s team selection cut-off, with Rolex Rankings No. 3 Lexi Thompson, No. 10 Jessica Korda, No. 12 Cristie Kerr and No. 18 Michelle Wie currently slated to represent the American flag in Korea.
However, a win over the next four events, especially a major victory at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, could add new faces to that mix. Danielle Kang, currently No. 23 in the Rolex Rankings and ranked fifth for the USA, had a strong showing in Shoal Creek, finishing fourth to help boost her chances of making Team USA. She is also the defending KPMG Women’s PGA winner and certainly hopes to successfully defend her title at Kemper Lakes Golf Club outside Chicago.
As of the May 28 rankings, the top eight countries are: Republic of Korea (18), United States of America (43), Japan (172), England (185), Australia (242), Thailand (255), Sweden (285) and Chinese Taipei (317).
For more information on the UL International Crown, visit: www.ulcrown.com
RACE TO THE CME GLOBE STANDINGS
With her win, Ariya Jutanugarn earns 625 points and is projected to remain in first in the Race to CME Globe with 2,450 points.
CME GROUP CARES WEEKENDS EAGLES
CME Group Cares Weekends is a season-long charitable giving program that turns eagles into donations. For each eagle recorded during weekend play (Saturday and Sunday) throughout the 2018 LPGA Tour season, CME Group donates $1,000 to the program’s total donation count. At the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship, the stakes are even higher, as the donation has been raised to a generous $5,000 per eagle. The money raised will go towards a charitable pool and be split evenly between Wounded Warrior Project® and Bright Pink®.
The weekend at the U.S. Women’s Open Championship saw five eagles. That translates to $5,000 raised, and $139,000 raised on the year.
Championship: @USGA; #USWomensOpen
LPGA: @LPGA, @LPGAMedia