Chun In-gee won the Women’s PGA Championship on Sunday to claim her third Major title and snap a victory drought of almost four years.
The 27-year-old South Korean fired a three-over-par 75 in windy conditions at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, to finish 72 holes on five under 283.
That was good enough for a one-stroke triumph over American Lexi Thompson and Australian Minjee Lee to take the $1.35-million top prize from a record $9m purse.
“It just means a lot because I didn’t have any wins for almost three-and-a-half years,” Chun said, her voice cracking with emotion. “My loyal fans in Korea never gave up on me no matter how I did.”
Chun, ranked 33rd, had not won since October 2018 at the Hana Bank Championship in South Korea, a 76-event worldwide winless streak.
But after squandering what had been a three-stroke lead when the day began, Chun added a third career Major trophy after the 2015 US Women’s Open and 2016 Evian Championship.
Chun dominated the first two rounds and led by as many as seven strokes before struggling to 75s in each of the final two rounds while sixth-ranked Thompson charged.
Thompson, however, could not end an eight-year Major win drought since her 2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship trophy at age 19 or a three-year overall victory drought.
The American settled for her 11th top-five Major finish since capturing her first Major victory and her fourth Major runner-up effort.
Thompson, tied for the lead with Chun at the par-four 17th, made a three-putt bogey to give the Asian star a one-stroke lead as they reached the 72nd hole of the week.
At the par-four 18th, Chun went into back greenside rough with her approach while Thompson had a long birdie putt. Chun rolled her putt over a ridge and five feet past the cup while Thompson two-putted for par, leaving Chun one last putt for the title.
Chun calmly rolled in the tension-packed putt and pumped her right fist as the ball fell into the cup and gave her a third career Major title.
Chun began the final round on eight under with a three-stroke lead over Thompson, but Chun made bogeys on three of the first six holes while Thompson birdied the 1st and 3rd to seize the lead.
Thompson stumbled with a bogey at the par-three 7th but Chun made a bogey at the par-five 9th and Thompson again enjoyed a two-stroke edge.
Thompson and Chun matched birdies at the par-five 11th and bogeys at the par-four 12th, Chun lipping out her five-foot par putt at 12 to remain two back.
But Thompson missed a tap-in par putt at the par-four 14th and fell to five under with Chun one adrift.
At the par-four 15th, however, Thompson sank a 12-foot birdie putt and restored a two-stroke lead at six under with three holes remaining.
Chun responded with an eight-foot birdie putt at the par-five 16th while Thompson made a bogey, leaving them deadlocked for the lead to set up the closing drama.
Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul was fourth on 285 while a fifth-place pack on 287 included Japan’s Nasa Hataoka, Australian Hannah Green and South Koreans Kim Hyo-joo, Kim Sei-young and Choi Hye-jin.
South Africans Ashleigh Buhai and Reto Paula finished on two over par (T21) and four over par (T30), respectively.
© Agence France-Presse