KOHLER, Wis. – Na Yeon Choi was cruising to victory in the U.S. Women’s Open when her trademark consistency suddenly deserted her.
After yanking her tee shot into the woods on the 10th hole, Choi made triple bogey – cutting her lead over playing partner Amy Yang from five to two strokes.
“That moment, maybe I thought I might screw up today,” Choi said. “But I thought I needed to fix that. I can do it. So I tried to think what I have to do.”
Choi birdied the next hole, danced around a few more potential pitfalls on the back nine and went on to win by four strokes Sunday at Blackwolf Run.
It’s the first major and sixth career LPGA Tour victory for the 24-year-old South Korean star, who came into the tournament ranked fifth in the world.
Choi shot 1-over 73 and finished at 7-under 281. Yang, also from South Korea, shot 71 to finish second at 285.
Choi’s victory comes at the same course where Se Ri Pak won the Open in 1998, a victory that inspired Choi and many other young South Koreans to try to make it on the women’s tour.
Choi is the fourth South Korean player to win the event since 2008, following former Bishop Gorman High School standout Inbee Park (2008), Eun-Hee Ji (2009) and So Yeon Ryu (2011).
Park, two shots off the lead after the second round, shot 75 Sunday and tied for ninth at 292.
Sandra Gal of Germany shot 74 and finished third at 289. Il Hee Lee of South Korea, Shanshan Feng of China and Italian Giulia Sergas finished at 290.
Michelle Wie followed her 78 Saturday with an 80 to finish at 10-over 298, after shooting a 66 Friday to close within a stroke of the lead.
Top-ranked Yani Tseng finished at 302 and still needs an Open victory to complete a career Grand Slam.
■ PGA – At White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., rookie Ted Potter Jr. made a 4-foot birdie putt on the third hole of a playoff with Troy Kelly to win the Greenbrier Classic for his first PGA Tour victory.
Ranked 218th in the world, Potter overcame a four-stroke deficit with five holes to play, finishing with a 6-under 64 to match Kelly (66) at 16-under 264.
Charlie Wi (65) and rookie Charlie Beljan (67) tied for third at 266. Wi shot a 65, and Beljan had a 67.
U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson lost a one-stroke lead on the back nine at the tournament for the second straight year. He made three straight bogeys, shot 73 and tied for seventh.
■ CHAMPIONS - At Pebble Beach, Calif., Kirk Triplett won the First Tee Open for his first Champions Tour title, making an early eagle and closing with a 6-under 66 for a two-stroke victory.
Triplett, the three-time PGA Tour winner making his eighth start on the senior tour after turning 50 in March, finished at 10-under 206. Mark McNulty (69) took second at 208.
■ EUROPEAN PGA – At Saint-Quentin-En-Yvelines, France, Marcel Siem of Germany shot 4-under 67 to win the European PGA Tour’s French Open, edging Francesco Molinari of Italy by one stroke.
Siem had five birdies and one bogey to finish at 8-under 276.