Holing out from just off the green three times is one heck of a way to turn heads in the final round of a major championship. For Mirim Lee, that's what it took Sunday just to reach a three-way playoff at the ANA Inspiration.
Once there, the 29-year-old from South Korea closed the deal against Nelly Korda and Brooke Henderson in much more conventional fashion. She poured in a 5-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole to cap an exceptional late run, taking the title after Korda and Henderson had missed their chances on the 18th green at Mission Hills Country Club.
Lee’s victory was as stunning as any in recent major championship history, Steve Eubanks relates, in no small part because of middling form and results in her recent past.
A second Henderson major or a first for Korda seemed like the most likely storylines as Sunday began, but neither of the 54-hole co-leaders came up with a knockout blow. It turned out Lee was not to be denied.
With two of four women’s majors now in the books, the stage has been cleared for the delayed U.S. Open at Winged Foot. Ron Green Jr. reminds us that America’s national championship is made for big moments, and with a new hosting strategy the USGA is intent on continuing to deliver them.
Stewart Cink, 47, had not won on the PGA Tour since his Open Championship title at Turnberry in 2009, and has spent extended stretches away from the game in order to be with his wife, Lisa, as she has fought cancer. His victory at the Safeway Open carried extra layers of joy and appreciation as a result.
Lewine Mair notes that with a trend now well established for young European players to cross the Atlantic for golf at U.S. colleges, there is an effort being made to give talented amateurs there a reason to stay closer to home.
At the Portugal Masters, South African George Coetzee outpaced a field that included England’s Tommy Fleetwood to claim his fifth victory on the European Tour and first on the continent.
Denmark’s Rasmus Højgaard is a rising star in Europe, and Sean Fairholm reports that beyond a shy exterior lies a skilled and ambitious 19-year-old who wants to be seen only by the results of his play.
With Larry Dornisch of Muirfield Village honored this year with the Bill Strausbaugh Award for his role in mentoring fellow PGA professionals, John Steinbreder checks in with the native Pennsylvanian to find a man who loves every part of his job.
And in The Divot this week, Steinbreder suggests that as the U.S. Open returns to Winged Foot this week, the famed A.W. Tillinghast courses there are but a small sample of notable tracks in New York’s Westchester County.