Yuka Saso birdied the third playoff hole to beat Nasa Hataoka on Sunday and become the second teenager to win the U.S. Women’s Open after Lexi Thompson collapsed down the stretch.
Saso overcame back-to-back double bogeys early in the round to make the playoff. She then won it with a 10-foot putt on the ninth hole to become the first player from the Philippines to win a golf major.
Saso matched 2008 winner Inbee Park as the youngest U.S. Women’s Open champion at 19 years 11 months 17 days.
Both players made pars at Nos. 9 and 18 in the two-hole aggregate playoff, sending the tournament to sudden death back at the ninth hole. That set the stage for Saso to win it just up the road from Daly City, dubbed the Pinoy Capital of the United States for its large population of Filipinos.
Thompson, who had a five-stroke lead after the eighth hole, played the final seven holes in five over to finish a stroke back.
“I really didn’t feel like I hit any bad golf shots,” she said. “That’s what this golf course can do to you, and that’s what I’ve said all week.”
The other players to finish under par on the Lake Course at Olympic Club were Megan Khang and Shanshan Feng, who both were at two under.
High school junior Megha Ganne played in the final group but shot 77 and finished three over as the low amateur for the tournament.
“I’m going to remember this for the rest of my life,” Ganne said. “It’s everything I’ve wanted since I was little, so it’s just the best feeling.”
Saso overcame a rough start to the final round with double bogeys on the second and third holes that seemed to knock her out of contention but she managed to steady herself with a birdie at No. 7.
Saso then made back-to-back birdies on the par-five 16th and 17th holes to get to four under and join Hataoka in the playoff. Hataoka used a run of three birdies in a four-hole span on the back nine that put pressure on Thompson.
Thompson wilted down the stretch, making this the seventh straight LPGA Tour major won by a first-time winner.
Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., shot a final-round 70 to finish at one over, in a tie for seventh.
Ames wins Principal Charity Classic for second senior title
Stephen Ames won the Principal Charity Classic on Sunday for his second PGA Tour Champions title, taking advantage of Tim Herron’s final-round collapse. Seven strokes behind Herron entering the round, Ames shot a five-under 67 for a one-stroke victory over fellow Canadian Mike Weir. A four-time winner on the PGA Tour, Ames won the 2017 Mitsubishi Electric Classic for his first senior title. The 57-year-old naturalized Canadian citizen from Trinidad finished at 12-under 204 at Wakonda Club. Weir closed with a 69. Herron bogeyed three of the final five holes in a 76 that left him tied for third at 10 under. He missed a chance for his first senior victory after winning four times on the PGA Tour. Willie Wood (68) and Doug Barron (71) matched Herron at 10 under.
Cantlay wins a playoff at Memorial on Sunday without Rahm
Patrick Cantlay delivered a clutch birdie late in the round and a 12-foot par putt in a playoff to win the Memorial on a Sunday filled with drama, a little rain and no Jon Rahm. Cantlay closed with a one-under 71 and won the Memorial for the second time in three years, and he said he felt the same range of emotions in the final hour at Muirfield Village in his duel with Collin Morikawa. But it wasn’t the same. Only a day earlier, Cantlay walked off the 18th green six shots behind Rahm, whose 64 ranked as one of the great rounds at the course Jack Nicklaus built and tied two Memorial records, including largest 54-hole lead. But he tested positive for the coronavirus – Rahm had been in the contact-tracing protocol – and was withdrawn from the tournament. Just like that, Cantlay and Morikawa went from six shots behind to tied for the lead. Nick Taylor of Abbotsford, B.C., shot a final-round 72 to finish at three over, in a tie for 42nd. Corey Connors of Listowel, Ont., shot a final-round 77 to finish at six over, in a tie for 53rd.