Lilia Vu defeated Angel Yin on their first playoff hole to win her first major title on Sunday at the Chevron Championship in The Woodlands, Texas.
Replaying the par-5 18th hole at the Jack Nicklaus Signature Course at The Club at Carlton Woods, Yin’s second shot splashed into a water hazard in front of the green and she had to take a drop, eventually reaching the green in four.
Vu was over the green in two shots and chipped onto the putting surface, leaving her a putt of roughly 14 feet, longer than Yin had left for par. Vu’s right-to-left putt for the winning birdie dropped in the left corner of the cup.
“I knew on that last putt, all I had to do was just do my routine, read the putt how I usually do, and just hit this putt because I’ve hit that putt a million times and I knew I could make it,” Vu said.
Vu, a 25-year-old from California, claimed just her second career LPGA title after also winning the Honda LPGA Thailand this past February.
“Everything happens for a reason,” Vu said. “… I was definitely my own enemy, and I don’t know how I pulled this out.”
It marked the first time the major was played somewhere other than Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., where the winning golfers maintained a longstanding tradition of jumping into Poppie’s Pond to celebrate. Vu continued that tradition by leaping into the lake next to the 18th green.
“I think (caddie Cole Pensanti) and I kind of passed by on 18 during the practice round and kind of discussed, ‘Would you jump,’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, I would jump,'” Vu said. “If I won here, of course I would jump.”
Vu fired a 4-under 68, tied for the lowest round of the day, to set the clubhouse lead at 10-under 278. She made five birdies, including at Nos. 17 and 18.
Yin, who was a 54-hole co-leader with Allisen Corpuz, was 11 under for the tournament through 15 holes but landed in sand bunkers at the par-4 16th and par-3 17th, bogeying each time.
Yin two-putted for birdie at No. 18 to finish off an even-par 72 to get back to 10 under and force a playoff with Vu.
Yin entered the week No. 172 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Ranking.
“I think I’ve just come a long way,” she said. “I’m just really happy with who I am, where I am, and what I’m doing right now. Just a lot to appreciate.”
World No. 2 Nelly Korda sank a long eagle putt at her last hole to shoot a 71 and finish third at 9-under 279.
“Every single time I can finish well at a major, put myself into contention, that’s what I strive to do,” Korda said. “A little sad that I didn’t really have my best stuff today. My putter kind of let me down this week a little. Even though I made some really good putts, I also missed some putts that I usually don’t.
“Overall I have a lot to work on, but for it to be the first major of the year, I think I played pretty well, and hopefully I can build on it.”
Corpuz shot a 74 and dropped into a tie for fourth at 8 under with Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul (71 on Sunday), Switzerland’s Albane Valenzuela (73) and South Koreans A Lim Kim (72) and Amy Yang (73).
World No. 3 Jin Young Ko of South Korea shot a 68 and tied for ninth at 7 under with Megan Khang (74).
–Field Level Media