Hendersonpips Ko forfirst major
Washington: Brooke Henderson used a brilliant putting game to become a first-time major champion on Sunday, edging world No.1 Lydia Ko in a play-off to capture the Women’s PGA Championship.
The 18-year-old Canadian claimed the title when she rolled in a short birdie putt on the first play-off hole at the Sahalee Country Club course near Seattle.
Henderson closed with a six-under-par 65 on Sunday to finish in a tie with a six-under 278 total.
She had to come from behind to beat Ko as she forced the play-off by draining a 50-foot putt on No.17 and then made a 20-footer for a dramatic par-save on 18.
New Zealand’s Ko, who was seeking to win her third consecutive major championship, fired a four-under 67.
Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn, who was attempting to tie Nancy Lopez’s record with a fourth straight LPGA victory, shot a 66 to finish in solo third place on 279.
The 20-year-old from Bangkok was also in contention at the ANA Inspiration, the year’s first major, in April when she held a two-shot lead with three holes left.
However, Ariya suffered three bogeys and finished fourth with Ko winning the title.
After her third-place finish at the Women’s PGA Championship, Ariya moved up to seventh from 10th in the world rankings.
She won US$233,352 in price money from the year’s second major and remained second on the money list with $1.1 million in 14 events this year.
“I feel so good to hit five-under in the final round and this is a major event,” Ariya said.
“I had a lot of fun. My target here was to just make the cut. I finished in the top three so it’s really a good thing.”
Henderson said the win feels like a dream.
“I don’t know whether I thought it would come true,” she said. “I’m just speechless. I don’t know what’s going on in my head right now.”
Henderson hit a superb approach on the No.18 play-off hole as her ball landed about 20 feet inside of Ko’s ball and just three feet from the cup.
Ko, 19, settled for par on the play-off hole.
“I thought I needed to do something special here because I didn’t want to go to extra [play-off] holes, especially against her,” Henderson said of her second shot in the play-off.
“I hit a pretty solid seven iron and it rolled out pretty nicely and I was able to make the putt.”
Henderson’s victory capped a fantastic day for the young guns on the LPGA Tour as the three leaders down the stretch on the final day were all 20 or younger.
Ko took a one shot lead into the final round and led for most of Sunday before Henderson made a late move.
“I really didn’t feel a ton of pressure or a ton of nerves which is the key to shooting six under in a final round,” Henderson said.
A trio of South Koreans tied for fourth at two-under 282, comprising Lee Mi-Rim (69), Ryu So-Yeon (67), Park Hee-Young (66).
The leaderboard was dominated by South Koreans, who filled six of the top 11 spots. bangkok post/AFP