MANHEIM TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- In Gee Chun scored a stunning victory Sunday at the 70th United States Women's Open Championship. The 20-year old Chun, a native of Seoul, Republic of Korea, fired a 4-under par 66 on Sunday to finish 72 holes at Lancaster Country Club at 8-under par 272. That total equals the record for the lowest aggregate score in tournament history. She played her last seven holes in three under par.
It was the first Women's Open start for Chun, who is currently the leading money winner on the LPGA Tour. She has already won three times this year in Korea and once in Japan. On Sunday, on her sports' biggest stage, she played with the poise of someone twice her age.
"Everything I faced and I did here was completely new, including my caddie," Chun said through a translator. "So all I did was enjoy the new stuff, everything new. So I just tried to enjoy the new stuff and 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 to good play. That has put me in the great rhythm of play, and I enjoyed that tournament rhythm."
Amy Yang, who started the day with a three-shot lead, finished one shot behind Chun at 273 after a closing 71. She missed a 12-foot putt for par at the final green that would have forced a three-hole aggregate playoff.
Stacy Lewis, who started the day alone in second place, closed with a 70 and wound up at 275 after two double bogeys extinguished her championship hopes. Two-time Women's Open champion Inbee Park was also at 275 after a 67 that could have been lower had it not been for a balky putter.
Brooke Henderson, former champion So Yeon Ryu, Pernilla Lindberg, Morgan Pressel, Jane Park and Shiyoh Oyama were all at 277, while defending champion Michelle Wie was at 278. Lydia Ko and Min Lee also finished under par at 279.
Lancaster Country Club presented the players with a new look Sunday. The William Flynn test was set to 6,288 yards and several holes were significantly shortened.
For much of the day, the championship was seemingly Yang's to lose. She stumbled at the fifth by making bogey but Lewis found the water with her second shot at the same hole to fall three off the pace. Despite another bogey at the ninth, Yang still had a two-shot lead at the turn and maintained that advantage despite a bogey at the 11th.
But around that time Chun got hot. She drained a 6-foot birdie putt at the 12th to move to within a shot of the lead. A few minutes later Lewis birdied the 13th to join Chun at six under par and when Yang bogeyed the 14th there were three players tied atop the leaderboard.
Chun kept her foot on the gas and rolled in birdie putts at 15 and the 235-yard par-4 16th when she got up and down from a greenside bunker. She concluded her birdie streak at the par-3 17th when she hit her tee shot to within five feet of the pin and made the putt.
"The pin was short sided," she said, "and I knew there was not much space. But I figured if I could make a throw shot a little bit, it would probably end up as a great opportunity. And all I did was try to feel the image of the shot and I just tried to react to the instinct I could have in my heart right then."
Chun found the left rough off the 18th tee and was forced to settle for bogey.
Behind her, Lewis double bogeyed 15 to fall out of contention.
"There's two swings I'd like to have back," Lewis said, "but other than that I played great. I fought my way through it. Proud of the way I hung in there. Through 14 holes, I was tied for the lead and had a chance. Given the start I had, I'd say it was a pretty good day."
Yang bogeyed the 15th but eagled the 235-yard par-4 16th after her tee shot finished 12 feet from the flagstick. She birdied the 17th but found the left rough off the 18th tee and had to lay up with her approach.
"There was much grass behind the ball," she said. "So I went for the green but I thought maybe it's not going for the green. But I thought I ended up leaving it a good distance and a good angle to the pin. So I thought I had a good chance to save par."
Yang played her third shot to 12 feet but her putt for par slid by the left edge.
NOTES: The championship scoring record was first set by Annika Sorenstam in 1996 and equaled by Juli Inkster three years later. Inkster was a television analyst for Fox at this championship. ... Chun's closing 66 ties the mark for the second-lowest final-round score by a Women's Open champion. ... Chun is the third-youngest Women's Open champion in history. This marks the seventh time in the last 11 years a Korean-born player has won the Women's Open and the eighth time overall. The first Korean-born winner was Se-Ri Pak in 1998. ... The last player to win the Women's Open in her first attempt was Birdie Kim in 2005. ... Megan Khang earned low-amateur honors. The 17-year-old closed with a 71 to complete 72 holes at 285.