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, who said: “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.”
- Ariya Jutanugarn defeated Hyo Joo Kim on the fourth playoff hole in the first year of the USGA’s new two-hole aggregate playoff format.
- Jutanugarn becomes the sixth player to win both the U.S. Women’s Open and the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship.
- This is the second time in Jutanugarn’s prior five U.S. Open appearances that she made the cut. Her highest prior finish is T17 (2016).
- Jutanugarn is the first U.S. Women’s Open champion from Thailand, and the twelfth international champion since 2000.
- After the ninth hole in Round 4, Jutanugarn’s 16-under-par tied Juli Inkster’s (1999) record for most strokes under par at any point in a U.S. Women’s Open.
- Kim was the only player in the field without a bogey in the final round of the Championship, and her 67 was the lowest final round in the field.
- Kim posted three sub-par rounds in this year’s Championship. Prior to this year, Kim had only posted one sub-par round in her four U.S. Women’s Open appearances. Her final round 67 was her lowest ever U.S. Women’s Open round.
- Patty Tavatanakit of Thailand was the low amateur with a 72-hole score of 2-under 286, which is T5.
- Danielle Kang, Angela Stanford and Jutanugarn’s front nine score of 4-under par 32 tied for the lowest front nine score in the championship and matched Carlota Ciganda, who carded a 4-under for the front nine in Round 2.
- Kang’s fourth-place finish is her first top five finish in 10 U.S. Women’s Open appearances. Kang’s 3-under 285 included three sub-par rounds, the first time she’s had more than one sub-par round in a U.S. Women’s Open.
- Carlota Ciganda’s third-place finish is her first top three finish in seven U.S. Women’s Open appearances and her second consecutive top five finish. She posted three sub-par rounds after opening with a first-round 73.
- Nine countries were represented in the top 10 of the final leaderboard.