Smith surges to lead in weather-hit US Women's Open

Mae Harvey
June 7, 2018

Ariya Jutanugarn parred the fourth playoff hole to beat Kim Hyo Joo for the 73rd US Women's Open title on Sunday (June 3) and become the first player from Thailand to lift the trophy.

Smith started the tournament with back-to-back 67s, but shot a 74 in the third round and didn't make a birdie to fall into second place. Kim made some incredible shots down the stretch, perhaps the most significant being her first putt on the first playoff hole, a 30-footer for birdie. They would need extra holes to decide who would win their second Major Championship, and who would lament missed opportunities.

Ariya Jutanugarn survived a back-nine meltdown to win the 73rd US Women's Open on Sunday and claim her second career major title in a playoff.

Three players were tied for fifth at four-under 212, comprising world number one Park In-bee, Sweden's Madelene Sagstrom and Carlota Ciganda of Spain. Thursday it was her second nine, Friday her first nine.

Going back out to No. 14, Kim barely missed a 20-foot birdie try that would have won it and then Jutanugarn rolled in a 4-footer after a brilliant bunker shot. "Obviously that wasn't going to happen because I was thinking about the outcome too much".

"It's really tough for me because, you know, I didn't have good finish the last two holes".

Jutanugarn now holds a four-shot lead over Hyo Joo Kim.

Two early birdies brought her to within a shot of Smith, who bogeyed the eighth and ninth holes to surrender the lead.

"I started off quite a few strokes behind the leader, so I didn't really think that I was going to come through", Kim said.

Mother Narumon Tiwattanasuk and Ariya's elder sister Moriya, who celebrated her own maiden LPGA win in California two months ago, were enormously relieved after watching the finale from the stands. Time and again on Sunday she made long putts, and she wasn't about to stop making them now.

Ariya was among 78 players who got up at the break of dawn to return to the course early Saturday to complete their rain-hit second rounds. Korean-born Su-Hyun Oh shot 68 and is also 6 under.

Faxon said that Ariya, at her best, evoked comparisons with a young Tiger Woods, and with nine LPGA victories, including two majors, the 22-year-old seems capable of dominating the women's tour.

Korean Jeongeun6 Lee, the third golfer to shoot a 67 on Thursday, followed that up with a 3-over 75 on Friday, dropping her out of the top 10 at 2 under. I was sort of holing a lot of putts. "I was actually kind of happy with how I handled it a bit more today". It just felt like a last chance to make myself proud.

Joaquin Niemann, the 19-year-old from Chile, birdied the 18th hole to tie for sixth.

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