BETHESDA, Maryland. – In South Korea’s Ji Chun rallied after shedding the remainder of her once significant lead, breaking the front nine to win the PGA Women’s Championship on Sunday when Lexi Thompson faltered with her stick.
Chun threw three over par 75 for the second straight day at the Congressional Country Club outside of Washington, D.C., but it was enough for her to win her third major career title, beating American Thompson and Australian Minji Lee. . Chun, who had a six-stroke lead in the middle of the tournament, lost a three-stroke lead in the first three holes of the final round. Thompson carried it off with two shots past the front nine, but Thompson’s putting problems were just beginning.
The 27-year-old Thompson blew a pair of feet at No. 1. 14, but the birdie on the 15th hole restored the lead to two shots. She then spooked the 16th par 5 hole while Chun birdie, leaving the players tied with two holes to go.
Thompson put a three behind scarecrow number 1.17, and after an impressive run from the rough on the 18th hole, her bird shot wasn’t strong enough.
Chung’s approach on par 18 bounced past the hole and just over the back of the green, but she closed about 5 feet and failed her par run for the win.
Chun, 27, has suffered seven strokes after finishing her eight-under par 64 round on Thursday in wet conditions. By the end of the day, her lead was down to five, still equaling the biggest 18-hole lead in women’s major tournament history.
She was six shots ahead halfway through, and by Sunday she had a three-shot lead. She finished the tournament with a score of 283, five under par.
Chun won her first major at the 2015 US Women’s Open and added the Evian Championship in France the following year.
Thompson hasn’t won an LPGA Tour event since 2019, and her only major win came as a teenager at Mission Hills in the California desert in 2014. The US Women’s Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.
This year, she was 10 hits behind after the first round before relentlessly chasing Chun. Thompson made birdies on Nos. 1 and 3 on Sunday. Chun was scared of Nos. 2 and 4 fall out of the lead.
Thompson missed short birdie putts on the eighth and ninth holes, which foreshadowed her problems later in the round, but Chung’s 40 on the front nine left her two behind on the turn. Sei Yong Kim, who at one point was down to sixth under, hit the eighth, 10th, 11th and 12th holes and fell out of contention. She finished the tournament in a five-way tie for fifth place.
When Chun hit her first bird of the day on par-5 11, Thompson countered with a bird of her own to stay two shots ahead for seven short. When Thompson scared 12, so did Chun.
The turning point in her favor in the final round was the 16th hole, where Cheung had to make an unplayable lie and make a double bogey on Saturday. Thompson was short and right off the green in two but landed four from there to spook while Chun after a long wait landed her birdie.