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Na Yeon Choi withstood a final-round triple-bogey and held on for a four-shot victory at golf’s U.S. Women’s Open, her first success in a major championship.
Choi, 24, entered the final round with a six-shot lead and had her advantage whittled to two strokes before making three late birdies en route to a 1-over-par 73 and four-round total of 7 under at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wisconsin.
It was the sixth LPGA win for Choi, who said she dreamt of playing on the tour as a youth when she watched Se Ri Pak win the 1998 U.S. Women’s Open, also at Blackwolf Run. Pak was among the fellow South Korean players who showered Choi with champagne on the 18th green after she clinched the victory.
“After the third round, I thought I can win this week,” Choi said at a news conference. “Just do my best and keep the feeling when I was nine years old. I really wish 14 years later from now some junior golfer or some young Korean golfer says I was watching on TV and how Na Yeon played really inspired me.”
Amy Yang of South Korea was the only other player to finish below par, at 3 under.
Choi had shot a course-record 7-under 65 during the third round to open a six-shot lead. The biggest final-day comeback win in a U.S. Women’s Open is five shots by Annika Sorenstam in 1995 and Choi ensured that record remained intact as she had three birdies in a six-hole stretch.
Golfers from South Korea have now won four of the past five U.S. Opens and in five of the past eight years.
The victory takes Choi to No. 2 from No. 5 in the world rankings.
Sandra Gal of Germany finished third at 1-over par.
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