Sung Hyun Park beat So Yeon Ryu on the second hole of a playoff Sunday in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship for her second major championship.
After a brief rain delay on the par-four 16th hole at Kemper Lakes, Ryu’s birdie try rolled past, and Park finished off her South Korean compatriot with a 10-footer. Park raised her arms and placed her hands on her head before hugging her caddie and wiping away tears.
Japanese teen Nasa Hataoko, after shooting an eight-under 64 to post at 10 under, dropped out of the playoff with a par on the par-four 18th.
Ryu made a 20-footer for birdie from the fringe, and Park followed from 10 feet.
Park closed with a three-under 69. Ryu had a 73. She took a two-stroke lead on the 16th, but hit into the water on the par-three 17th en route to a double bogey. Park made a brilliant par save on 16.
The 24-year-old Park also won the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open.
Nine strokes behind Ryu entering the day, Hataoka nearly pulled off one of the biggest comebacks in LPGA Tour history. She was already off the course when Ryu made a 30-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole to go two strokes up at 12 under. But Ryu’s tee shot on No. 17 went into the water to the left of the green, setting up the three-way tie.
Park just missed a birdie on that hole when her 20-footer hit the edge of the cup. And she had a chance to win it on 18, only to watch her 18-foot birdie attempt role just past the edge.
Jessica Korda (68) and Angel Yin (71) tied for fourth at seven under, with Charley Hull (67) at six under. Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., (74) – second through three rounds – was five under.
After rain soaked the course earlier in the week, the final three days were marked by temperatures in the 90s. And with storms forecast for late Sunday afternoon, organizers adjusted the start times and had groups of three tee off on the first and 10th holes.
Ryu started on No. 1 with Park and Henderson and ran into trouble after rallying on the closing holes to grab a three-stroke lead in the third round. She had one short putt rim out and another deflect out of the back of the cup in a double-bogey on No. 2.
Park, who began the day four back, then went to nine under with back-to-back birdies, chipping in on the par-three third and making a short putt on No. 4.
Ryu bounced back with birdies on No. 6 and 7. She went right at the pin on the par-three sixth off the tee and then made about a two-foot putt. On the seventh, she finished with about a 20-foot putt.
A birdie on the par-five No. 11 put her at 12 under before she bogeyed the par-three 13th.
The 19-year-old Hataoka was coming off her first tour victory at the NW Arkansas Championship last week and nearly pulled out this one even though she began the day all but out of contention.
She had five birdies plus two eagles to go with one bogey. She eagled the par-five seventh hole and bounced back from a bogey on the par-four No. 10 with another eagle on the par-five 11th. She then birdied the 12th, 15th and 16th holes on the way to her sixth top 10 finish in her past seven LPGA starts.