Ariya Jutanugarn Wins Dramatic US Women's Open
The 73rd U.S. Women's Open had appeared to be a procession of brilliance from Ariya Jutanugarn, who was seven shots clear of the field during the final round at Shoal Creek, only to collapse down the stretch, before rebounding from that with a thrilling victory in a playoff over Hyo Joo Kim to win the oldest and most lucrative major on the LPGA Tour.
Having been way ahead following an imperious display, a treble-bogey seven on the 10th dramatically shifted the dynamic of the occasion, before bogeys on the two closing holes saw the 22-year-old Thai golfer slip into extra holes with Kim of South Korea, who herself had shot a metronomic 67 on Sunday.
Featuring the USGA's new two-hole playoff, Kim holed a lengthy putt on the first additional hole (the 14th) to stun Jutanugarn, but a dropped shot on the 18th paved the way for even more golf, with the former Women's British Open champion recording a pair of sturdy pars. Following shared pars on the third extra hole, the pair came to the last once again, and respectively found greenside bunkers with their approaches. Kim faced a difficult, lengthy shot from the sand across the expanse of the green, and did a more than reasonable job with her attempt, but the door was ajar for Jutanugarn, who produced a spectacular up-and-down to win the Championship and complete one of the most tumultuous winning finishes in recent memory.
Historically, similarities could be drawn with Arnold Palmer in the 1966 U.S. Open - who lost a seven-shot lead on the back-nine before losing a playoff to Billy Casper - or perhaps more appropriately Craig Stadler at the 1982 Masters, who threw away a six-shot advantage with seven holes remaining, but managed to nonetheless win the Green Jacket in extra holes over Dan Pohl.
Certainly, this U.S. Women's Open was dramatic and memorable, and continues what has been a stunning year to date for Ariya Jutanugarn. Take the chance to relive this incredible finish.
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