Brittany Lang shot a final round 71 and outlasted Anna Nordqvist in a three hole aggregate playoff to capture the 71st U.S. Women’s Open Championship.
“Yeah, it’s pretty special,” Lang said. “I’ve always dreamed of winning the U.S. Open. I have so much respect for the USGA and for this tournament. And to see these players — I actually said something to somebody in Arkansas, and I just feel like I have extremely underachieved as a golfer. I feel like I’m so capable of doing so much more than I’ve done. And this is just a little start to boost me.”
Making the victory more special for Lang was being able to share it with her family members who were all in attendance, including her brother Luke, who was on the bag.
“It’s amazing,” Lang said. “When I won in Waterloo, Luke was there, which Luke is a crucial part of my success. But to have my family here, all of them, my mom, dad and my husband and Luke is an absolute dream come true to win this. And to have them here to celebrate, it’s really special.”
Lang needed a par on the 72nd hole to tie Nordqvist who was in the clubhouse after posting a final round 67 which moved her to 6-under for the championship.
In the playoff, Lang registered pars on the par-3 16th, par-4 17th and par-5 18th while Nordqvist made par on 16 and then double bogeyed 17 after a ruling that she had grounded her club in a fairway bunker added two strokes to her par. A bogey on the last from Nordqvist paved the way for Lang to tap in for par and claim her first major championship.
“You know, Anna is such a great player, it’s so unfortunate to have something like that happen,” Lang admitted. “But, you know, she’s a classy girl, and I think the USGA handled it well. I’m thankful they told me before my wedge shot so I could take a little bit more club. But it’s just part of the game and it’s unfortunate.”
Below are some key stats from Lang’s victory:
Made 117 starts since her last victory at the2012 Manulife LPGA Classic and this week’s victory
Made 46 starts in majors before her first major win
Previous best finish in a major was second at the 2005 U.S. Women’s Open and 2011 RICOH Women’s British Open
Is the first player 30 or older to win the U.S. Women’s Open since Annika Sorenstam in 2006
Is the 12th player to win the U.S. Women’s Open in a playoff
First winner over 30 on the LPGA Tour this season and first since Cristie Kerr at the 2015 CME Group Tour Championship
Nordqvist handles adversity with grace
Anna Nordqvist fell to Brittany Lang in a playoff thanks partially to a ruling that she grounded her 5-iron in a bunker on the second playoff hole.
“Well, first, I couldn’t really believe that it happened,” Nordqvist admitted. “It wasn’t my intention to ground the club. It’s blowing 35, 40 out there, and I had a 5-iron off a downhill lie in the bunker. It’s been a long day, a long week. So probably misjudged it a little bit and touched a little bit of sand and that is a penalty. But, hey, I’m finishing second in the U.S. Open, and I played great today and played really good all week. So I’m proud of myself.”
The runner-up finish at CordeValle is Nordqvist’s best finish in a major since her win at the 2009 McDonald’s LPGA Championship and is her seventh top 10 in her last 12 major championships.
Another solid major finish for Lydia Ko
While Lydia Ko wasn’t able to convert on the 54-hole lead at CordeValle she did add another top-3 finish in a major to her growing resume.
“Unfortunately, I am not the one holding the trophy,” Ko said. “Well, we still don’t know who is going to hold the trophy at the end of today. But I feel proud of the way I played. I wasn’t in any good position after the first day. And even to be leading after three days, I think, was a good performance. So I’m proud of the way I played. And this is the best finish I’ve had at the U.S. Open. So I think there’s a lot of positives.”
Below are Ko’s results in the past five major championships:
2016 U.S. Women’s Open Championship T3
2016 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship 2
2016 ANA Inspiration: 1
2015 Evian Championship: 1
2015 RICOH Women’s British Open: T3