Sports

Women’s PGA Championship: Chun In-gee wins third major title – as it happened | LPGA

Congratulations, then, to Chun In-gee, the 2022 Women’s PGA champion! Commiserations meanwhile to Lexi Thompson, who has yet another painful major-championship near-miss to process. If she could depend on her putter, she’d have a hatful of these things. Thanks for reading this blog. Nighty night!

-5: Chun In-gee
-4: Minjee Lee, Lexi Thompson
-3: Atthaya Thitikul
-1: Nasa Hataoka, Kim Hyo-joo, Hannah Green, Kim Sei-young, Choi Hye-jin
E: Lilia Vu, Stephanie Kyriacou, Ji Eun-hee, Jessica Korda, Stephanie Meadow, Jennifer Chang
+1: Lauren Coughlin, Anna Nordqvist, Chella Choi, Jennifer Kupcho, Brooke Henderson
+2: Peiyun Chien, Ashleigh Buhai, Georgia Hall, Kim In-kyung

That victory means Chun In-gee is now a three-time major champion! She adds the 2022 PGA to the 2015 US Open and the 2016 Evian. She waves to the appreciative crowd and takes possession of the silverware, wearing a heartwarming smile … before dissolving into happy tears. “It just means a lot because I didn’t have any wins for three-and-a-half years, so I really appreciate it. My sponsors always believed in me. My family and my coach, my caddy, and my fans in Korea, they never gave up on me, no matter how I did. So thanks very much. I really enjoyed the course, so thanks to the greenkeepers!”

Chun, all smiles and nervous relief, is soon drenched with celebratory water by her compatriot Choi Hye-jin! Lovely celebrations. She’s embraced warmly by Lexi Thompson, too, who smiles broadly while offering congratulations. Chun’s win is richly deserved, having led this tournament nearly all week after that opening day 64, only to nearly give it away down the closing stretch last night and the front nine this afternoon. But she gathered herself. Having regrouped, she landed the killer blow with birdie on 16, as her playing partner Thompson self-destructed, her putter letting her down yet again. Spare a thought for poor Lexi, who has a multiple major-winning talent, but remains stuck on one.

Chun In-gee wins the 2022 Women’s PGA Championship!

Never missing! Chun rolls it into the centre of the cup for a wire-to-wire victory!

-5: Chun (F)
-4: Lee (F), Thompson (F)

Lexi Thompson’s birdie effort is always dying off to the right. She never hit it. But she gave it enough that a tap-in for par isn’t a problem. She finishes with a 73, at -4 overall. That leaves Chun In-gee with a five-foot right-to-left slider for her third major title! If she doesn’t make it, she’ll go into a play-off with Thompson and Minjee Lee.

Before Lexi can line up her birdie putt, Choi Hye-jin snaps a three-bogey run by draining a valedictory 40-foot birdie putt! She signs for a disappointing final round of 76, but at least she’s ended the week in red figures at -1.

The tension around the 18th green is almost unbearable. What a dramatic closing round this has been! Chun sizes up her long, downhill, left-to-right breaker over a ridge … and makes a pretty good job of it, the ball never looking like dropping, but rolling serenely six feet by. A very long way for a gimme, but from where she’d found herself, a pretty good result.

Chun hits her approach a little thin, sending it longer than desired. It lands on the green but takes a huge spring off a downslope and topples one roll into the fringe. She’ll have a long two putts for par. Nothing certain there. Thompson meanwhile will have a great look at birdie. She’s much more dependable from this sort of distance, it’s the short ones she’s not so fond of. So basically, anything could happen. With this in mind, Minjee Lee is hanging around to see what’s what.

Turns out Chun’s drive has indeed ended up in a divot, albeit a shallow one. The NBC commentary team compare it to the one Scottie Scheffler found on the opening hole at Brookline this time last week, from which he went on to make birdie. Meanwhile Lexi’s lie isn’t awful. She’s 154 yards from the pin, and opts not to die wondering. She goes straight for the flag and for a second worries that she’s pulled her ball into the water on the left. But in fact it’s almost perfect! She lands pin high, and will have a look at the birdie she almost surely requires from 15 feet. Over to Chun.

One long, smooth swing, and Chun In-gee sends her tee shot down the middle of 18. Her ball thinks about nestling in a divot but stays kind. Lexi Thompson, the jig almost up, pushes into rough down the right.

… pushes her short par putt wide right. It never looked like dropping, even from such a short distance. This is beginning to look as though Thompson’s shaky putting is going to cost the otherwise brilliant Floridian yet another major. What a recovery by Chun, though, after the toxic shock of that front-nine 40.

-5: Chun (17)
-4: Lee (F), Thompson (17)
-3: Thitikul (F)

Thompson and Chun may be putting from similar distances, but that’s all. Chun has a fairly straight putt; Thompson’s breaks left to right over a ridge. Not the sort of feel putt you want with the flat stick misbehaving, as hers so often does. In fact, she nearly steers it in superbly, but the ball shaves the left-hand edge and rolls four feet past. The door swings ajar for Chun, who has a much easier left-to-right slider uphill … but she doesn’t hit it. She taps in for par. Meanwhile on 18, Atthaya Thitikul’s birdie effort drifts past, and she signs for a 72, ending the week at -3. Over to Lexi, who …

On Sky Sports, Dame Laura Davies has just described the chip that Thompson shovelled over the 16th green as something an 18-handicapper would do. It was a seriously angular, uncoordinated effort, that’s for sure, the product of a mind addled by the pressures of a major championship on Sunday. Chun cranks up the pressure by wedging her second into 17 to 12 feet … so hats off to Thompson, who clears her head and responds marvellously with an approach to a similar distance. Two big putts for potentially decisive birdie coming up!

Chun smoothly creams her drive at 17 down the middle. Thompson follows her, finishing 30 yards past. Both of these players have enjoyed potentially decisive leads, only to find themselves neck and neck going down the stretch. Good luck calling it.

Thompson settles herself to tidy up for bogey. Meanwhile Thitikul pours her birdie putt at 17 into the centre of the cup, and this really is all to play for now. Major championship Sunday, ladies and gentlemen!

-5: Thompson (16), Chun (16)
-4: Lee (F)
-3: Thitikul (17)

Thompson elects to putt up from the bottom of the swale. There’s more bank than green to cover, and she misjudges horribly, sending her putt racing 15 feet past. The one coming back never looks like dropping, and rolls three feet past. Then Chun, who has been waiting patiently while her partners faff around, rolls in her uphill birdie putt, and she’ll have a share of the lead at the very least!

Choi seriously overcooks her wedge coming back and is fortunate that her ball skims the flagstick, taking away plenty of the pace. It still topples off the fringe at the front. She stabs the putt coming back to kick-in distance, but that’s a third bogey in four holes, and she’s -1. Meanwhile the 19-year-old Thai, Atthaya Thitikul, isn’t out of this yet. Having made birdie at 16, she sends her second into 17 to eight feet, and will have a look at a birdie that will take her to -3!

… but Lee will also be dreaming of a play-off. The prospect of that becomes a little more likely on 16, where Chun wedges to six feet, while Choi flies her bunker shot, all ball, no sand, over the green. Meanwhile Thompson hits a hot wedge over the green and down a swale to the left! Drama developing here!

Minjee Lee tidies up for her birdie on 18, and that’s a final round of 70. The US Open champion sets a new clubhouse target of -4, and she’ll be regretting that wholly unnecessary three-putt bogey on 17.

-6: Thompson (15)
-4: Lee (F), Chun (15)
-2: Thitkul (16), Choi (15)

Nobody in the final group reaches the par-five 16th in two. Chun down the left of the fairway, Thompson over on the right, Choi in greenside sand. Some big up and downs coming up!

Minjee Lee crashes her tee shot down 18 and nearly finds another divot. Her ball plays nicely this time, allowing her to screech her approach to three feet. She’ll be posting a new clubhouse lead in a couple of minutes, one way or the other.

… and then on 17, Minjee Lee’s birdie putt breaks dramatically to the right. She’s left with a tricky three footer to save her par … and she can’t make it. It horseshoes out, and what a huge couple of minutes it’s been for Lexi Thompson! That elusive second major so close now!

-6: Thompson (15)
-4: Chun (15)
-3: Lee (17)
-2: Choi (15)

Chun’s turn. She stabs a flop to three feet. But before she can tidy up for par, Thompson putts from the fringe. A fairly straight 12-footer … and in it goes! From the ridiculous to the sublime, and that’s a huge bounceback birdie! What moxie after the egregious miss on the previous green. That cranks up the pressure on Chun, who pulls her putter back and … steps out of the shot, the wind having picked up suddenly. As if the putt, almost a can’t miss, isn’t hard enough in these circumstances! But she gathers herself and pops it in to save par.

Choi almost whiffs her chip from the thick rough on 15. Take two is nearly a hole-out. She taps in for a bogey that drops her back to -2, and wears the look of someone who suspects the jig is up.

Choi and Chun both fly the 15th green, like Lee and Kupcho before them. Both will face difficult chips back from the cabbage, with little green to play with. Thompson goes off the back as well, but only by one bounce, her wedge nearly screeching to a halt on the dancefloor. Not ideal, but better than her two playing partners. Meanwhile on 17, Lee’s drive finds a divot, but she’s able to swish into the heart of the green anyway, from where she’ll have an uphill look at birdie from 20 feet.

… oh my. Lexi pulls the short par putt to the left, straight off the bat. The ball doesn’t even shave the lip. Could the yips do for her again? That’s a painful bogey, and she wouldn’t be human if she hasn’t just started thinking of that collapse at Olympic in the US Open last year. Meanwhile on 16, Lee rolls her eagle putt to a couple of inches and tidies up for birdie! The new US Open champ walks off smiling widely, and this leaderboard suddenly looks very different.

-5: Thompson (14)
-4: Lee (16), Chun (14)
-3: Choi (14)
-2: SY Kim (14)

Chun very nearly drains a monster on 14! A huge left-to-right breaker from 50 feet, up and over a ridge, stops one turn short. So close to a birdie that would have sent a shudder down Thompson’s spine! She remains at -4 and now Thompson will have a look at birdie of her own from a much more realistic 20 feet. The leader leaves it a couple short, and …

The Dinah Shore champion Jennifer Kupcho had been hovering, four off the lead. But she can’t get up and down from the Minjee Lee Bunker at 15, and she slips back to -1, out of contention as she runs out of time.

Hye-jin Choi is sure to make a bounceback birdie on 13. She uses the camber at the back of the 14th green to gather her ball back to kick-in distance. That’ll return her to -3, and she’s not out of this yet. Also not out of this, not at all, is Minjee Lee. She pearls her second into the par-five 16th, the ball taking a couple of bounces and nearly rolling in for albatross! The ball sails a couple of inches wide to the left, but she’ll have a look at eagle from 15 feet!

A couple of drama-free two-putt pars on 13 for Thompson and Chun. No par for Choi, however. She wedges delicately to five feet, but prods at the par putt in an extremely tentative manner, and the 22-year-old South Korean, coming off the back of a third-place finish at the US Open three weeks ago, slips to -2. But what an up and down for Lee on 15! She splashes out of the sand, shortsided from a downhill lie, limiting the roll past the hole to four feet. It’s inconceivable that she could do any better, and she nails the one coming back.

-6: Thompson (13)
-4: Chun (13)
-3: Lee (15)

The early clubhouse leader is Nasa Hataoka. The 23-year-old from Japan has already come close in a couple of majors, losing play-offs at the 2018 PGA to Park Sung-hyun and last year’s US Open to Yuka Saso. Three birdies in her last six holes sets the seal on a final round of 69, and she ends the week at -1 overall.

Some trouble for Minjee Lee on 15. Her approach takes a hard bounce on the apron of the green, and flies hysterically into a bunker at the back. She’ll be shortsided from there, and on a downhill slope to boot. Back on the par-three 13th, the leader Lexi Thompson and Chun In-gee both find the green safely, but Choi Hye-jin sends her hybrid into thick rough to the right.

Thompson’s par putt is always destined to stay high on the left. Bogey, only her second on the back nine all week. What a time to alter that particular stat. But it’s not as costly as it could be, Chun’s short putt horseshoeing out. She hands back the shot she picked up at 11 in the shortest of orders. Par meanwhile for the third member of the final group, Hye-jin Choi, who nearly drains a 30-footer for birdie and is hanging on in there.

-6: Thompson (12)
-4: Chun (12)
-3: Lee (14), Choi (12)

The wind’s working against Thompson as well, coming in from behind, making it even harder to stop her ball anywhere near the hole. She does very well to land it in front of the pin, but can’t stop it rolling 20 feet past. Chun’s attempt to lag her first putt to kick-in distance is a wee bit overcooked, leaving a three-foot test coming back. Meanwhile another par for Minjee Lee, this time at 14. She looks in the mood to set a target that will give the leading pair pause for thought as they head home.

Thompson takes a brave line into 12, towards a pin tucked in behind a big bunker on the left. She fires her iron straight as an arrow, but unfortunately it’s way short of the target, and lands in one of the sand traps. She’ll be left with a tricky third over another miles of sand, and without too much green to play with. Chun, in classic matchplay style, sends her approach along a much more conservative line, into the meat of the green, nowhere near the sand, but not particularly near the pin either.

Kim Sei-young is having a shocker. It’s now three consecutive bogeys, four in five holes, as she three-putts 12. This is hard to watch, as she leaves a long birdie effort three feet short, then shoves the par attempt five feet past! She does extremely well to compose herself and make the bogey putt, thus avoiding the ignominy of a four-putt double bogey. But having got as high as -6 this afternoon, she’s fallen all the way down to -2, and with some speed. Having suddenly her mojo, you’d have to say the 2020 champion’s race is run.

Chun In-gee makes her first birdie in 15 holes! And how she needed it. She finds the par-five 11th in regulation, then rams a 20-foot won’t-die-wondering birdie effort into the back of the cup. That’s a magnificent response to an awful front nine, though she remains two off the lead, because Lexi Thompson, having nearly found the green in two, wedges to six feet and makes her birdie putt.

-7: Thompson (11)
-5: Chun (11)
-3: Lee (13), Choi (11), Kim (11)

Minjee Lee keeps things going nicely at the par-three 13th. A long rake at birdie breaks a good six feet to the right, and she’s left with a testing putt to save her par. But she pours it into the middle of the cup to remain in the group at -3.

Nothing much had been going right for Brooke Henderson today. Bogeys at 1, 9 and 10 toppled her down the standings to level par. But she’s bounced back at 12 by draining a monster to return to -1. Jennifer Chang however drops one, the punishment for a dismal wedge from the fringe; she’s -2. Meanwhile up on 18, Jeongeun Lee5 – not to be confused with 2019 US Open winner Jeongeun Lee6 – holes out from 100 yards on 18 for a closing eagle. She signs for a 74, ending the week at +3, and that will have earned a few bonus pennies.

Kim Sei-young is going backwards at pace. A careless three-putt bogey on the par-five 11th, her third in four holes, sends the 2020 champion back to -3.

The final trio respond by quickly sending away their tee shots at the downhill par-three 10th. Choi dunks into a bunker to the left. Thompson and Chun find the green, but neither are particularly close. Choi can’t get up and down. She slips back to -3. Thompson leaves her long first putt four feet short, the sort of distance that’s been so troublesome for her over the years. But she pops in a fine saver. A fuss-free two-putt par for Chun. Meanwhile all will be wary of the presence of the new US Open champion Minjee Lee, who having started cold with bogeys at 1 and 2, has since birdied 5, 9 and now 11 to move into serious contention.

-6: Thompson (10)
-4: Kim (10), Chun (9)
-3: Lee (12), Chang (11), Choi (10)

The final group of Lexi Thompson, Chun In-gee and Choi Hye-jin have been put on the clock. They’d fallen more than a hole behind the penultimate group, and having been ordered to close the gap only to fail to do so, will now have to get a wriggle on. They took two hours and 50 minutes to play the front nine! Say no to slow play, kids. Just step up and fire. That approach didn’t do Matt Fitzpatrick any harm at Brookline last week.

Bogey at 10 for Kim Sei-young, the winner of this tournament at Aronimink in 2020. That’s her second dropped shot in three holes, and having briefly troubled Thompson in the lead after birdie on 3, she slips to -4. Meanwhile back on 9, Chun – who led by seven after three holes yesterday – makes a three-putt bogey. Yet another shot gone, and she hits the turn in 40 strokes. Nevertheless, she walks off smiling bravely, and may be feeling a little better as Thompson’s short, straight birdie putt lips out. Thompson has a two-shot lead but it really should be three. She’s a tad more pensive as she departs the scene.

-6: Thompson (9)
-4: Kim (10), Choi (9), Chun (9)

Lexi clearly isn’t mulling over last year’s US Open capitulation at Olympic Club! She powers a wedge out of the thick stuff into the heart of the green, making use of the ridge running across it to bring her ball back to six feet. That is quite sensational from where she was, and she’ll have a good look at her third birdie of the day. It remains astonishing that the 27-year-old Floridian hasn’t added to her one major to date, the 2014 Dinah Shore. Fifteen top-ten finishes since then. Sixteenth time lucky? She looks in the mood, but then we said that at Olympic and look what happened there.

A bit of trouble for the leader Lexi Thompson at the par-five 9th. From the centre of the fairway, she sends her second into thick rough down the right. The last time Lexi led a major on Sunday afternoon? Oh no. We can go there, but let’s hope she hasn’t.

Georgia Hall had been making a too-little-too-late dash up the leaderboard. Having started her day on 10 at +2, and bogeyed 14, she then birdied 15, 17, 18 and 4 to make it into the top ten at -1. But a double bogey at 7 has sent the 2018 British Open champion back down the standings to +1.

It didn’t take long today before change was afoot at the top of the leaderboard. Chun In-gee’s advantage was whittled away in short order, as she bogeyed 2 while Lexi Thompson birdied 1 and 3. Chun dropped another stroke at 6, and all of a sudden she found herself two behind Thompson. The new leader handed a stroke back at 7, though, Thompson’s first bogey in 21 holes. A much-needed momentum changer for Chun? We’ll find out soon enough. Here we go!

-6: Thompson (7)
-5: Kim (8), Chun (7)
-4: Choi (7)
-3: Chang (9)
-2: Lee (10), Green (8)
-1: Hall (15*), Nordqvist (11), Kupcho (9), Henderson (9), Thitikul (8)

Before we get going … a reminder of how this title was decided last year.

Preamble

It’s been quite the week so far for Chun In-gee. The 27-year-old from South Korea has long been looking to add the Women’s PGA Championship to the Women’s Open she won as a 20-year-old tour debutant in 2015 and the Evian Championship she hoisted a year later. A period in the doldrums followed – just the one win on Tour since then, at the KEB Hana Bank in 2018 – but a couple of top-ten finishes in the majors in the last couple of years have seen Chun back on the right track … and an opening-day 64 this week, which gave her a record-equalling five-stroke lead after 18 holes, set her fair to end her unexpectedly lengthy wait for major number three.

But it’s tough keeping this sort of thing up for four days. Chun was still five clear through 15 holes yesterday, only to get overwhelmed by tall grass, then a bush, on the par-five 16th. She ran up a double-bogey seven. Suddenly her lead going into the final round was only – only! – three, giving the chasing pack renewed hope. And what a chasing pack it is, featuring major champions in Lexi Thompson, Kim Sei-young, Hannah Green, Brooke Henderson, Jennifer Kupcho, Anna Nordqvist, Ko Jin-young, Lydia Ko, Yuka Saso and the new US Open champion Minjee Lee.

“If it’s going to be too easy, then I feel it is boring,” Chun said after her round yesterday. That’s just as well, then, because what previously looked like a definite procession has now the potential to become an absolute nail-biter. Our coverage begins at 6pm BST. It’s on!

Leaders after 54 holes
-8: Chun In-gee
-5: Choi Hye-jin, Lexi Thompson, Kim Sei-young
-4: Hannah Green
-3: Atthaya Thitikul, Brooke Henderson, Jennifer Chang, Jennifer Kupcho
-2: Stephanie Meadow, Minjee Lee
-1: Jessica Korda, Chella Choi, Anna Nordqvist, Angel Yin, Yuka Saso, Lydia Ko, Ko Jin-young

Women’s PGA Championship: Chun In-gee wins third major title – as it happened | LPGA Source link Women’s PGA Championship: Chun In-gee wins third major title – as it happened | LPGA

Back to top button