Leona Maguire (file photo). Alamy Stock Photo

Disappointment for Leona Maguire as South Korea's Yang wins Women's PGA Championship

Maguirecarded a disappointing closing round of 76, having previously been in contention.

SOUTH KOREA’S AMY Yang captured her long-awaited first major title on Sunday, hanging on late for a three-stroke victory at the Women’s PGA Championship in her 75th major start.

Yang fired a level-par 72 to stand on seven-under 281 after 72 holes at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Washington.

And despite some late struggles, that was enough to claim the $1.56 million (€1.46m) top prize with compatriot Ko Jin-young, Japan’s Miyu Yamashita and American Lilia Vu sharing second on 284.

“I’m at a loss for words right now,” Yang said. “All four rounds it was tough out there, but I did my best.”

Ireland’s Leona Maguire, meanwhile, carded a disappointing closing round of 76 to finish four-over par and 11 shots off Yang. The Cavan star had been in contention but slipped 10 places down the leaderboard to sign off in a tie for 24th. She shot bogeys on the third, eighth, 11th, 15th and 16th, and a single birdie on the 17th. Maguire now heads home after eight weeks on the road.

Stephanie Meadow missed the cut earlier in the weekend.

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World number 25 Yang, who had 21 career top-10 major finishes without a victory, won her first major in her 17th LPGA Tour season at age 34.

“I always wanted to win a major and I came close several times and I started doubting myself if I’m ever going to win a major before I retire because I’ve been on tour for quite a while,” Yang said.

“I’m so grateful and very happy to win a major.”

The two-time US Open runner-up won her fifth and most recent prior LPGA title at last November’s Tour Championship, her first triumph on US soil.

Despite a large lead late, Yang faced some tense moments down the stretch.

Yang made her second three-putt bogey of the week at 16, trimming her lead to five strokes.

After her group was given a time warning, Yang plunked her tee shot into the water at the par-3 17th and made double bogey, slicing her lead to three over Ko and Vu.

At the par-5 18th, Yang found the fairway but sent her second shot into left rough short of the green. She pitched her third shot onto the green and two-putted for par from just inside 12 feet for the triumph.

World number 22 Yamashita, a 22-year-old with 11 wins on the LPGA Japan Tour and closed with a birdie to shoot 73 and grab a share of second. Vu and Ko shots 71s.

Americans Ally Ewing and Lauren Hartlage shared fifth on 285. Hartlage, ranked 272nd, managed her first top-five LPGA finish.

Ewing appeared to just miss out on qualifying for the Paris Olympics. She needed to climb four spots in the rankings into Monday’s top 15.

“If the rankings come out tomorrow and I’m an Olympian, that would be great,” Ewing said. “It would be really special.”

– © AFP 2024

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