BETHESDA, MD ( Associated Press) — After losing the rest of her once-major lead in Ji Chun, she rallied to win the Women’s PGA Championship on Sunday to overcome a bogey-filled front nine when Lexi Thompson used her putter. Fell along.
Chun scored 75 runs in 3 overs for the second day in a row at Congressional, but that was enough to win her third major title by one stroke over Thompson and Minji Lee. Chun, after leading six in the middle of the tournament, lost a three-shot advantage in the first three holes of the final round. Thompson was two strokes ahead of him after the front nine, but Thompson’s problems were just beginning.
The 27-year-old Floridian dropped a par putt from two feet on number 14, but a birdie on 15 restored her lead to two. He then bogeyed the par-5 at 16th, while Chun birdied, leveling the two players with two holes left.
Thompson three-putted the bogey for 17, and after an impressive approach from the rough on 18, his birdie put was not hit enough.
Chun’s approach on a par-4 18 sprung from behind the hole and behind the green, but he put in about 5 feet and thwarted his par attempt for the win.
Chun, 27, of South Korea, led by seven strokes after finishing 8-under 64 in wet conditions on Thursday. The lead was down to five at the end of the day—still equaling the biggest 18-hole advantage in the history of the women’s majors.
She was six strokes ahead at halfway point and had a three-shot advantage coming on Sunday. She finished at 5-under 283.
Chun won her first major at the US Women’s Open in 2015, and the following year added the Evian Championships in France.
Thompson hasn’t won an LPGA Tour event since 2019, and her only major win was in 2014 at Mission Hills in the California desert as a teenager. He certainly had his chances. She lost a five-stroke lead during the final round of last year’s US Women’s Open at Olympic Club.
This year she was 10 strokes behind after the first round, before continuing to chase Chun. Thompson birdied at No 1 and 3 on Sunday. Chun lost No. 2 and 4 and was out of the lead.
Thompson missed short birdie putts on the eighth and ninth – foreshadowing his problems later in the round – but Chun’s 40 on the front nine overtook him twice. Sei Young Kim, who at one point was ranked 6-under, bogeyed at 8, 10, 11 and 12 and was not a factor after that.
When Chun made his first birdie of the day on par-5 11th, Thompson responded with a birdie of his own, two shots ahead at 7 under. When Thompson scored 12, so did Chun.
The 16th hole, where Chun had to make an unassailable lie and made a double bogey on Saturday, was the turning point in his favor in the final round. Thompson was short and right of the green in two shots, but took four shots to make the bogey, while Chun rolled into her birdie putt after a long wait.
Lee, who was trailing at six at the start of the day, just missed an eagle put on 16 that could have tied her for the lead. When Thompson bogeyed 15 and Lee bogeyed 17, the Australian was three behind.
A brilliant approach on the final hole gave Lee a short birdie putt, but after making it for the final-round 70, he still needed Thompson to drop two more strokes.
It actually happened, but Lee’s birdie and two crosses on the last three holes were enough for the win.
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