Brooke Henderson Wins Women’s PGA in Playoff
The Women’s PGA Championship held at Sahalee Country Club had many plots entering the event. Could Inbee Park win her fourth straight in the event? Ariya Jutanugarn looked to win her fourth consecutive event, adding to her record of winning first three victories of career in succession. Could Anna Nodqvist, Brooke Henderson or Gerina Piller come through for a big win?
Park began with a first round 72, five shots behind leader Brooke Henderson. The completion of the first round was enough for Park to become eligible for the LPGA Hall of Fame. In-Kyung Kim and Cristina Kim were two shots back after firing rounds of 69. Mirim Kim also shot a 69 and tied Henderson, who struggled to a round of 73. Brittany Lincicome, Gerina Piller and number one player in the world Lydia Ko were a shot back. Jutanugarn fell five shots back after a disappointing round of 75. Inbee Park’s quest at four straight in this event ended following a 77 and a missed cut.
Amy Yang shot the round of the round of the day on Saturday, firing s 66 to pull within two shots of third round leader Lydia Ko, who remained consistent with a round of 70. Piller, looking for her first LPGA win, was within a shot of the lead after a round of 71. Jutanugarn got back into the mix with a round of 68 and last week’s winner Anna Nordqvist joined Jutanugarn, Mirim Lee and Chella Choi, just two shots back.
Sunday’s final round saw some excellent scores, as the top six finishers shot 69 or better. Piller fell out of contention with a final round of 74. Ko and Henderson were leading the way most of the day, with Ko notching birdies at the first, fourth and ninth to finish three under for the round at the turn. She added a birdie at the 11th but couldn’t record another all day. Jutanugarn stayed in the mix, although relatively quite for the first five holes, recording all pars. She birdied six, nine and twelve and entered the 16th hole three shots behind Ko and two behind Brooke Henderson, who was making noise of her own.
After two under on the front nine, Henderson holed an eagle at the 11th and added a birdie at the 13th. By the time she reached the 17th hole, she was just a shot behind Ko. A birdie at 17 tied Ko, but birdies bye Jutanugarn on 16 and 17 put her just a shot behind Henderson and Ko. Needing at least a par on 18 for a chance at a playoff, Henderson rolled in a long putt. Jutanugarn still had a chance, needing a birdie on 18. Her second shot found the left center of the green, but her attempt at three birdies in a row and tie came up short and to the left. While Jutanugarn would not extend her winning streak, a final round of 66 put her in sole possession of third place.
The playoff featured Ko and Henderson. It did not take long for Henderson to make her mark, nailing her approach shot on the first hole of sudden death to within a few feet for birdie. Lydia Ko made her par, but wasn’t enough, as Henderson calmly rolled in a birdie for the win. The final round of 65 was the round of the tournament, as the 18-year old from Canada claimed her second LPGA win and first major.
The LPGA Tour heads to Grand Rapids, Michigan next week for the Meijer LPGA Classic where Lexi Thompson, who finished tied for 22nd this week, is the defending champion.