Ariya Jutanugarn Wins US Women's Open

Ariya Jutanugarn Wins US Women's Open

Ariya Jutanugarn Wins US Women's Open

Ariya Jutanugarn let a seven-stroke lead slip through her fingers at the U.S. Women's Open on Sunday after a remarkable back-nine collapse but averted disaster by beating South Korean Kim Hyo-joo in a playoff to collect her second major title.

Former world number one Ariya roared past second round leader Sarah Jane Smith to finish with a 12-under 204 total as the tournament got back on schedule after heavy rains and lightning earlier this week resulted in a number of delays.

Both players made par on the third play-off hole, before 2016 Women's British Open victor Jutanugarn saved par to win the title after a deft bunker shot on the 18th.

She won the Lotte Championship this year and has two previous top 10 finishes in the US Women's Open.

The South Korean, who shot a major record 61 at the 2014 Evian Championship, steadily chipped away at Jutanugarn's lead, ending the round as the only player with a blemish-free scorecard.

But by the time thunderstorms and bad light forced an early halt to the day's play, with nearly half the field still on course at Shoal Creek, the cut line had dropped to four-over. She blew a two-shot lead with three holes to go at the ANA Inspiration in 2016, bogeying the final three holes to lose to Lydia Ko.

Smith is clear of her fellow Australian Su Oh and Ariya Jutanugarn although Jutanugarn still has eight holes to play when she returns on Saturday morning to complete round two. "I don't worry about the outcome".

"I don't think I could have done more", Molinari said.

Woods wasn't alone in missing short putts.

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"I have to give myself more opportunities at birdie because I feel quite good about the putter", Park said.

South Korea's Kim closed with a five-under 67 to force the playoff and had two long putts to win in the extra session but could not get them to fall.

"I want to play golf as long as I can [and] just try to win my next tournament" she told CNN.

Of the other Australians in the field, last week's victor Minjee Lee is two over through six holes of her second round and is tied for 38 place.

After a front nine 32 at Shoal Creek, Jutanugarn stood on the 10th tee with a seven shot lead, and it seemed the title was already a foregone conclusion.

With Jutanagarn advancing, Smith finally stumbled with back to back bogeys at the eighth and ninth holes to go with her 16 pars in a two-over 74 as her challenger shot 67 to take command. I'm really confident with my bunker shot right now.

"After that, I played a little scared", Ariya said.

Smith, who is ranked 97th in the world, has put on an impressive performance this week after she switched back to a old set of clubs.

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