Tuesday, 17 July, 2018

Ryu takes 3-stroke lead over Canada's Henderson at KPMG Women's PGA

Lydia Ko surges into contention with strong second round at KPMG Lydia Ko fails to fire on disappointing final day at Women's PGA Championship
Cassandra Gardner | 05 July, 2018, 00:29

Ryu finished with three birdies in the final five holes to catch Park, who faltered with a bogey at her 16th hole, the par-five seventh.

After making the championship-clinching putt, Park raised both arms in celebration and shed tears - a rarity for a golfer who has been known to show very little emotion, positive or negative - in tournaments.

Park claimed her second major title when she beat compatriot So Yeon Ryu and Japan's Nasa Hataoka in the sudden-death playoff after the trio finished tied on 10 under after four rounds. Ryu missed the green in her second shot, but made her birdie putt from the fringe. Park's 69 included a string of nine straight pars at one point.

Park's second shot from more than 200 yards landed pin high but took a huge bounce over the green, from where she hit a poor chip that nearly trickled into a water hazard on the other side.

Beginning the day in a tie for fifth spot, Ko began brightly with a birdie on the second hole, before a bogey on the third cancelled out her early brilliance.

Ryu, the 2011 U.S. Women's Open and 2017 ANA Inspiration champion, did her best to keep up, playing in a group with Ko.

"KPMG's commitment to elevating women on and off the golf course is exemplified by the selection of Baltusrol Golf Club as the host of the 2023 KPMG Women's PGA Championship", said Lynne Doughtie, KPMG U.S. Chairman and CEO.

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Nine strokes behind Ryu entering the day, the 19-year-old Hataoka almost pulled off one of the biggest comebacks in LPGA Tour history.

"(I will try to) get better in my head and just go out tomorrow and made a lot of good shots and see if I can make some birdies, and hopefully they roll in".

Park just missed a birdie on that hole when her 20-footer hit the edge of the cup.

She seemed pretty comfortable on a day when the temperature hit the low 90s. And with storms in the forecast on Sunday, organizers chose to adjust the tee times and have groups of three start on the first and 10th holes.

Ryu was the overnight leader at 11-under but committed two double bogeys for a 73 in the final round, while blowing a two-shot lead with two holes to play to fall into the playoff. She took a double-bogey 6 on the second hole but rallied back with birdies on holes 6 and 7. It was a long way from her back nine score of 30 on Friday when every putt seemed to find the hole.

Hataoka recorded two eagles in her round and put a number on the leaderboard that likely got the attention of Park and Ryu. She followed that with a neat one on the par-4 No. 12, when her shot from the rough bounced off the stick and into the cup. She then birdied the 12th, 15th and 16th holes on the way to her sixth top 10 finish in her past seven LPGA starts.

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