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Golf: Cheerful Chun steals the show on US Women’s Open debut

In Gee Chun celebrates her come-from-behind US Women’s Open triumph. Photos: AFP.

In Gee Chun celebrates her come-from-behind US Women’s Open triumph on Sunday. Photos: AFP.

July 13, 2015: In Gee Chun lived up to her promise as one of the KLPGA’s most promising players by carding a closing four-under 66 on Sunday to win the US Women’s Open on her debut by one shot over compatriot Amy Yang.

 

The 20-year-old Chun, who is a member of both the KLPGA and JLPGA, started the day four shots behind Yang, but birdied three of her final four holes to finish at eight-under-par 272 and one shot clear of the third-round leader, who closed with a 71.

 

Chun, who has won seven times on the KLPGA since joining in 2013, recorded seven birdies and three bogeys in the final round to equal the championship scoring record set by Annika Sorenstam (1996) and Juli Inkster (1999).

 

The ever-smiling Chun made four previous starts on the LPGA Tour this season and said those experiences have led her to great success this season in Korea and most recently in Lancaster.

 

“This year at the beginning of the season I played four tournaments at LPGA. I had a great experience from those four tournaments and that has led to three wins in Korea and one major win in Japan this year,” said Chun, who also won three KLPGA events last year.

 

“And with that, with all those four wins this year, I got a lot of confidence bringing into this tournament, and that’s why I could enjoy every moment of the tournament.”

 

Chun, 20, birdied three of the last four holes to finish one ahead of Amy Yang.

Chun, 20, birdied three of the last four holes to finish one ahead of Amy Yang.

Chun sped off to a fast start with birdies on one and three to get to six-under and within two shots of Yang. The leader missed a 12-foot par putt on 11 to drop her third shot of the day and fall back to seven-under, while Chun added a birdie on 12 to pull within one shot.

 

World No. 3 Stacy Lewis, playing with Yang in the final group, showed her usual grit and fought back from a double bogey on the par-four fifth hole with birdies on seven and 13 to lie level with Chun, one behind Yang. The final four holes of the championship unfolded with plenty of drama and momentum changes.

 

Yang hit her 25-foot birdie putt on 14 four feet past the hole and missed her par putt, forcing a three-way tie at six-under. She then fell back to five-under with another bogey at 15.

 

As Yang struggled, Chun pulled away with three closing birdies from hole 15 to move to nine-under, but Yang kept fighting and eagled the 16th and birdied the 17th to get within one shot.

 

Chun, who was playing one group in front of Yang, missed her 12-foot par putt on the 18th hole to open the door for Yang. But after spinning her approach shot 10 feet in front of the hole, Yang failed to convert her par putt for a playoff.

 

“I really tried hard on the final three holes, just to get there,” Yang said. “It was tough.”

 

Lewis (70) eventually finished third on five-under, tied with World No. 1 Park In-bee (67), while 2014 champion Michelle Wie (70) finished 11th on two-under.

 

Source: LPGA (www.lpga.com); Editing by SportAsia

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