07 June, 2018
Relief: Ariya Jutanugarn holds the US Open trophy after defeating Kim Hyo-joo in a playoff at Shoal Creek on Sunday.
Her troubles coupled with some astonishing long-range putting from Kim produced a dramatic finale which had appeared unlikely halfway through the final round, and the pair finished 72 holes tied on 11 under when Kim returned a 67 while Jutanugarn bogeyed the final two holes to sign for a 73.
But Jutanugarn regrouped to claim her second major championship title with a par save from a bunker at the fourth hole of their playoff.
However, a bogey at 18 - and par from Jutanugarn - extended the play-off, with both players following up with pars at 14.
Ariya turned a three-shot deficit into a big advantage in her quest for a second major title as she looks to break the recent dominance at the championship by South Korean and American players, who have claimed the past 11 titles.
Unlike Smith, 22-year-old Jutanagarn had to rise extra early to complete her second round before playing her third.
It was a "strange" feeling for someone so unaccustomed to leading, and she could not maintain the torrid pace coming home, playing her final nine holes in even par. "I feel very good about how I played, especially that I did not have any bogey today on the final round".
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She has a way to go, but nonetheless took delight at seeing her name atop the leaderboard the entire round. "I want an answer.' And she said, 'Yes, I'm good enough to win'".
"After you have seven-shot lead and end up in playoff, I had no expectation because I kind of got mad a little bit with my back nine". She became the second youngest player in LPGA history to win a major championship, capturing the 2016 KPMG Women's PGA Championship at 18 years, 9 months and 2 days.
Jutanugarn said she had a 4 a.m. wakeup call and played 28 holes in sweltering heat and humidity.
Jutanugarn, meanwhile, got to the turn in 32 but a triple-bogey seven on the par-four 10th rattled her as she went on to drop a further three shots on the remaining eight holes.
"I told myself to just go out and have fun and be really committed, and I did", Ariya said.
"Honestly I tried to smile", she said. Korean Su-Hyun Oh shot 70 and is also 6 under. Only after the putt on 15 did she realize she had a chance to come back.
Michelle Wie started the third round in a tie for fourth, seven shots off the lead, but shot a 76 to fall out of contention.