In Gee Chun made her first U.S. Women's Open memorable, shooting a final-round 66 to pull ahead of the field and take her first career major championship.
The 20-year-old, who has made her mark in Korea's LPGA Tour, carded seven birdies to overcome her three bogeys, including one on the final hole. She defeated 54-hole leader Amy Yang by one stroke, as the 25-year-old failed to hold on to her three-stroke lead going into Sunday. Yang carded a one-over 71 and bogeyed No. 18 to clinch her second-place finish.
|2015 US Women's Open Leaderboard|
|1||In Gee Chun||-8|
|T5||Brooke Mackenzie Henderson||-3|
|T5||So Yeon Ryu||-3|
Chun, a seven-time winner in her home country, made a late charge thanks to a four-birdie run on the back nine. She hit a beautiful approach on the par-three 12th, finished off the putt for her first birdie then went back-to-back-to-back on Nos. 15, 16 and 17. As noted by Tom Housenick of the Morning Call, Chun is now one of four women in history to take the Open in her first try.
“Everything I experience here, it is new, completely new,” Chun said, per Randall Mell of Golf Channel. “So this is an adventure to me."
For her part, Chun was awarded a record prize of $810,000.
Yang nearly came back following a late charge of her own. After consecutive birdies on Nos. 14 and 15 left her seemingly all but out of the tournament, Yang holed out on the par-four 16th and hit a birdie on No. 17 to tie her with Chun. Needing a par to force a playoff and a birdie to win, Yang hit her drive into the rough and wound up bogeying the hole.
Rounding out the top five are Inbee Park, Stacy Lewis and six different women who tied at three under. Park, the world's top-ranked player, shot a 67 to earn her second straight top-three finish in a major. She has not finished worse than 11th in a major event since last year's U.S. Open.
Lewis was the top-finishing American but wound up falling short. Double bogeys on Nos. 5 and 15 ruined an otherwise solid round, as she carded an even-par 70. The Toledo, Ohio, native has not won a major championship since 2013 despite six top-10 finishes. She finished second at this year's ANA Inspiration to go along with her tie for third in Lancaster.
“I felt like I had a lot of good shots that put a lot of pressure on her,“ Lewis said, per Brendan Prunty of the New York Times. “And then she would respond and hit it right in there with me. There were multiple times today where it was iffy who was away. We kept making shots on top of each other, which is frustrating, in a way. You’re trying to get closer and you can’t get any closer.”
The next best Americans were Jane Park and Morgan Pressel, who were part of the phalanx of golfers tied for fifth. They both shot matching two-under 68s to finish out their tournament.
Michelle Wie, the defending U.S. Open champion, was alone in 11th place. She shot an even-par 70 after carding four bogeys in her first 10 holes. While she was able to rebound down the stretch, Wie's apparent ascent after last year's win remains in neutral.
There has not been a repeat winner at the U.S. Open since Karrie Webb took the event in 2000 and 2001. Overall, no one has won consecutive majors on the LPGA Tour since Park won the first three titles in 2013.