RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Mirim Lee chipped in three times Sunday, the last one for eagle on the final hole that got her into a three-way playoff at the ANA Inspiration that she won on the first extra hole with a birdie.
It was another wild finish in the LPGA major that moved from the first weekend of April to the 100-degree heat of September, and no one was more surprised than the 29-year-old Lee.
She was never in the lead at any point until she calmly holed a 5-foot birdie putt on the 18th to beat Nelly Korda and Brooke Henderson, who each had the lead on the back nine.
Lee pitched in from long range for par on the 16th, dropped a shot on the next hole and appeared to be out of it until her chip from behind the 18th green rammed against the pin and dropped for eagle and a 5-under 67.
Korda, the 22-year-old American going for her first major, had a two-shot lead with four holes to play and couldn’t hold it. With a one-shot lead going to the par-5 18th, Korda missed the fairway, had to lay up and missed the green to the right, having to scramble for par and a 69 just to match Lee at 15-under 273
Henderson lost the lead with a double bogey on the 13th hole that nearly cost her. But she birdied the 16th and was saved by the wall, a blue-covered structure behind the 18th that kept her second shot on the 18th from running through the green and into the water behind the island green. She got up-and-down for birdie and a 69.
On the first extra hole, Korda again missed the fairway and had to lay up, and her wedge was 25 feet short for a birdie putt that never had a chance. Henderson’s second shot came up just short, and she used putter for her eagle attempt that rolled out some 7 feet pasts. Her birdie putt missed on the left side.
Lee hit 5-wood just over the back of the putting surface, chipped to 5 feet and made the winner. Even with world No. 1 Jin Young Ko and U.S. Women’s Open champion Jeongeun Lee6 staying home because of travel concerns with the coronavirus, Lee made it 10 consecutive years with a South Korea winning a major.
PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Miguel Angel Jimenez completed a wire-to-wire victory in the Sanford International, the PGA Tour Champions’ first event with fans since returning from a break for the coronavirus pandemic.
Jimenez closed with a 5-under 65 at Minehaha Country Club to beat Steve Flesch by a stroke. The 56-year-old Spanish star won for the second time this season and 10th on the 50-and -over tour.
Tied for the second-round lead with Steve Stricker, Jimenez eagled the par-5 12th for the second time in three days and played the four par-5 holes in 4 under with birdies on Nos. 4 and 16. He parred the final two holes to finish at 14-under 196.
Flesch eagled the 16th in a 63. He had shoulder surgery in May.
Stricker shot a 67 to tie for third with Bernhard Langer (65) at 12 under. Stricker won the inaugural event in 2018, then skipped his title defence last year. The only player at Minehaha set to play next week in the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, he bogeyed the par-3 17th and finished with a par.
KORN FERRY TOUR
WESTCHESTER, Ill. (AP) — Curtis Thompson, the brother of LPGA Tour star Lexi Thompson, won the Evans Scholars Invitational for his first Korn Ferry Tour title.
The 27-year-old Thompson closed with a birdie for a 2-under 70 and a one-stroke victory over Will Zalatoris and Jimmy Stanger.
Thompson finished at 17-under 271 and earned $108,00 and jumped from 52nd to 12th in the points race for PGA Tour cards. He joined brother Nicholas as a Korn Ferry Tour winner.
Points leader Zalatoris shot a 64, and Stanger had a 66.
VILAMOURA, Portugal (AP) — South African George Coetzee shot a 5-under 66 to win the Portugal Masters by two strokes.
Coetzee birdied two of the last three holes to finish at 16-under 268 at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course. The 34-year-old Coetzee, coming off a victory last week on the Sunshine Tour, has five European Tour titles.
Englishman Laurie Canter was second after a 66.
LADIES EUROPEAN TOUR
ENNETSEE, Switzerland (AP) — Wales’ Amy Boulden won the VP Bank Swiss Ladies Open for her first Ladies European Tour title, closing with an 8-under 64 for a three-stroke victory over Australia’s Stephanie Kyriacou.
Boulden finished at 17-under 199 at Golfpark Holzhausern. Kyriacou shot a 65.
The Associated Press