Jutanugarn survives back-nine collapse to win U.S. Women’s Open

Jutanugarn survives back-nine collapse to win U.S. Women’s Open

Jutanugarn shot one-over 73. Like other World No. 1s before her, Jutanugarn sees what winning can do for others.

Ariya frittered away a seven-shot lead with nine holes remaining before parring the fourth playoff hole to edge South Korea's Kim Hyo-joo and become the first player from Thailand to lift the trophy. Whether you agree with Azinger or not (and many on the Internet do not), Jutanugarn added some personal context during a Q&A this Monday morning.

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. Jutanugarn had some wiggle room. Didn't hang her head in despair when she hit fliers out of the Bermuda rough.

Kim missed her putt for par and Jutanugarn tapped in for the win, turning toward her caddie and family for a happy, tearful embrace.

"He's like, 'Come on". I just want to go out and be proud of myself every day.

The Bangkokian has endured setbacks before enjoying triumphs throughout her six years on the pro circuit - and so it was during the final round in Shoal Creek, Alabama. Only after the putt on 15 did she realize she had a chance to come back.

Ko, who only just scraped into the second half of the tournament right on the cut line, finished at 9 over par.

For Jutanugarn, the bogey at the par-5 17th was uglier than the mess she made on the 10th.

"She rolls the ball beautifully".

Jutanugarn made it to Rolex No. 1 in June of a year ago, but she only lasted two weeks there.

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"I just felt really easy", said Smith.

Kim looked like she might win the two-hole aggregate after making a long birdie putt on 14 while Jutanugarn settled for par.

Sixty feet from the flagstick with a pond looming not far beyond, she blasted a fearless shot that trickled within a foot of the cup.

But the drama intensified further when Jutanugarn found the front bunker with her approach and caught her splash-out too heavy, and her 12-foot putt for victory slid past the left side of the hole.

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.

She has a way to go, but nonetheless took delight at seeing her name atop the leaderboard the entire round. "So I feel like it's a different nerves but they were there". Then I actually put a Callaway 3-wood in last week which has been really good. I didn't hit a great shot into 13, and then holed maybe a 40-footer for birdie there.

There were lots of smiles after the long, wet week concluded with a long, wacky day.

The 20-year-old from Smiths Falls, Ontario, has six wins on the LPGA Tour.

There's a charm in the childlike pranks she enjoys playing on her older sister, Moriya.

Smith played with a confidence that belied her recent poor results and a career resume that does not include a single LPGA victory in 222 starts.

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