American Meg Mallon claimed her second US Women’s Open title with an outstanding flawless final round of six-under-par 65 at the Orchards Club at South Hadley, Massachusetts.
On 10-under 274, the 1991 champion finished two shots ahead of world number one Annika Sorenstam, with American Kelly Robbins in third place on eight under after a 69.
Sorenstam, a two-time former winner, did her best to pile on the pressure with birdies at the last two holes in a 67. But it was both too little and too late to stop Mallon from marching to victory.
Mallon, 41, was three behind Jennifer Rosales overnight, but made an early move with birdies at the third and fourth.
A string of four birdies in six holes from the ninth really turned the tide.
She took the lead for the first time with a two-putt birdie at the long ninth, and extended it with a sparkling run that even included holing a 35-foot putt for par at the 15th.
Born in Massachusetts, there could not have been a more popular winner on American Independence Day.
“I am very excited and this is an absolute dream,” said Mallon, who has another two majors – the 1991 LPGA Championship and 200 du Maurier Classic – to set alongside her two US Opens.
“I have so many family and friends here this week.
“I didn’t really know that I could put 18 holes together like that.”
For Sorenstam, it was another close miss. She was second in 2002 and, last year, missed a three-way play-off by a shot. “I am disappointed, but I will get over it,” she said. “All credit to Meg. To shoot six under on Sunday at the US Open. It does not get much better than that.”
Michelle Wie, the 14-year-old superstar, closed with a 73 for one over 285 and tied for 13th and was the top amateur alongside another great young American, 17-year-old Paula Creamer and they both earn automatic exemptions.
The top 20 are guaranteed a spot, and Catriona Matthew and Johanna Head were the two Britons to make it. Matthew was 19th on three over after a 71, while Head had a 73 for two over.
Rosales slipped back with a 75, but still finished fourth on three under.