In Gee Chun’s modest goal for her first U.S. Women’s Open was to enjoy every new experience.
Boy, did she enjoy herself.
The 20-year-old South Korean stormed from behind, posting birdies on four of the last seven holes to rally for an unlikely one-stroke victory Sunday in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Chun shot a 4-under 66 in the final round and finished at 8 under, becoming the first player to win her U.S. Open debut since Birdie Kim in 2005.
“Everything I faced and I did here was completely new,” Chun said. “So all I did was enjoy the new stuff … I enjoyed it and had a lot of fun. Even though I’m Korean, here American fans supported me a lot and they gave a lot of claps. That has put me in the great rhythm of play, and I enjoyed that tournament rhythm.”
A bright smile rarely left Chun’s face, and that was part of the plan.
“Without thinking any negatively, all I could do was just enjoy the game,” she said. “That’s what has brought me to the U.S. Open win, I believe.”
The win was Chun’s fifth of the year after three in Korea and one in Japan. She credited her experience in four LPGA Tour events earlier this season for her success in the other events and preparing her for the rigors of the U.S. Open.
“With all those four wins this year, I got a lot of confidence coming into this tournament,” Chun said.
Third-round leader Amy Yang struggled in the middle of her round and then pulled within one by going eagle-birdie at Nos. 16 and 17. But she bogeyed the 18th and fell a stroke short.
Playing in the final group on the last day of the championship for the third time in four years, Yang squandered a three-stroke lead and settled for a 1-over 71 and second at 273.
Two-time champion and top-ranked Inbee Park (67) overcame putting woes and rallied late, tying for third with Stacy Lewis (70) at 5-under 275.
Defending champion Michelle Wie battled hip and leg injuries and limped in with an even-par 70, placing 11th at 2-under 278.
Jordan Spieth beat Tom Gillis on the second hole of a playoff to win the John Deere Classic for his fourth victory of the season.
The 46-year-old Gillis, who was attempting to become the oldest first-time winner on the PGA Tour in 20 years, sent an approach into the water. Spieth made par for his second win at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois, in three years.
Now Spieth heads to the British Open in search of his third straight major championship.
Spieth and Gillis both finished the final round at 20-under 264. Zach Johnson and Danny Lee tied for third at 19 under.
Spokane native Alex Prugh fired a 67 and finished at 10 under in tying for 28th place.
Jerry Smith shot a 2-under 70 to win the Encompass Championship for his first title on the Champions Tour.
Smith had a three-stroke lead heading into the final round of the 54-hole tournament, but the margin was down to one over David Frost when he reached the 579-yard, par-5 16th hole. The Council Bluffs, Iowa, native hit his second shot left into a greenside bunker, but holed out for a crucial eagle with two holes to play.
Smith finished at 16-under 200 at North Shore Country Club in Glenview, Illinois, setting a tournament record. Frost had a 68 in the final round and was three strokes back in second.
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