Jutanugarn claims gutsy US Women’s Open win

Sarah Jane Smith of Australia looks over the 16th green during the second round of the 2018 U.S. Women's Open at Shoal Creek

Sarah Jane Smith of Australia looks over the 16th green during the second round of the 2018 U.S. Women's Open at Shoal Creek

She's spent the last several months working on being proud of herself, employing self-talk, and even singing to herself to keep her mind in the right place.

Finally, after an excruciating few hours of golf, the positive vibes came true.

The 22-year-old from Thailand squandered a seven-stroke lead with nine holes to play, before defeating South Korean Hyo-Joo Kim on the fourth playoff hole at Shoal Creek Golf Club in Birmingham, Ala. Somehow, she kept her cool.

"She's playing so good", Duane Smith said. "If you would have said after Kingsmill when I had missed my fifth one in a row, would you take a Top 5 at the U.S. Women's Open?"

Her first Major win was the British Open in 2016.

A second tweet said: "Thanks to the hard-working staff at Shoal Creek and I look forward to another opportunity next year in Charleston!"

Australian Sarah Jane Smith fired a second-round 67 to grab a four-shot clubhouse lead as unsafe weather halted play at the US Women's Open in Alabama on Friday.

But a triple bogey on No. 10 cut the lead to four and seemed to shake her confidence. Jutanugarn hit her bunker shot to a foot and the win to cap off an incredible week.

The golfers remained tied after the two holes and forced a sudden death situation. The format then switched to sudden death, alternating between the same holes.

On the fourth playoff hole at 18, both players went into greenside bunkers.

They shared the third hole in par before Jutanugarn's superb bunker shot made the difference.

Ariya does not carry a driver in her bag but has such power that she hits her three-wood further than most women do with the "big stick".

Smith, who has not won in 222 LPGA tournaments, carded a second consecutive 67 on Friday, but she shot two bogeys in a third-round 74.

Jutanugarn began the final round with a four-stroke lead that grew to seven when she made the turn.

But things were about to get rough in a hurry. "I didn't hit my tee shots very well, but it was a fun day".

It marked an awesome recovery for the 22-year old, who had been hanging on after Kim birdied the first playoff hole. She made putt after putt to put pressure on Jutanugarn, including a 50-footer on 15 that pulled her within one shot of the lead. She is still chasing Smith, along with everyone else. "I'm pretty sure tomorrow is going to be a pretty good day". So it's nice to feel like I'm seeing the greens really well and seeing some putts go in.

Canadian star Brooke Henderson withdrew from the U.S. Women's Open Friday morning to return to Smiths Falls because of an illness in the family, said her father, Dave, in a text message to Postmedia. The fight and determination she showed on Sunday, should have the fifth ranked player in the world bursting with pride.

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