It was a dominant performance from Lilia Vu on Sunday at the AIG Women’s Open at Walton Heath Golf Club as the 25-year-old American fired a 5-under 67 to win by six shots and capture her third LPGA Tour title and second. major league of the 2023 season.
Vu started the day tied for the lead with England’s Charley Hull at 9-under, one ahead of Angel Yin and Hyo Joo Kim who were tied for third at 8-under through 54 holes. The UCLA alum hit first, bogeying the par-4 2nd hole to move to 10-under and one in front, a lead that extended to three when Hull made back-to-back bogeys on holes 3 and 4. Vu recorded six consecutive pars from holes 3 through 8 and cut her lead to two when Hyo Joo Kim birdied Nos. 8 and 9 to move to 8-under. But the California native birdied holes 9 and 10 to move to 12-under and hold a five-shot lead with eight holes to play.
Not to be left out of the discussion, Hull holed out of the bunker for eagle on the par-5 11th hole to get back to 9-under and sit three back of Vu. But the Chevron Championship winner went ahead once again with a birdie on No. 12 to move to 13-under, and after hitting her tee shot into the heath on the par-4 15th hole, Vu got out of contention with a bogey , keeping her lead at four shots after Hull also bogeyed. Vu regained ground with a birdie on 16, and when Hull bogeyed No. 17 to drop to 8-under, the two-time 2023 winner reached the 18th tee with a five-shot lead.
Finding the fairway off the tee and finding the green with her approach, Vu put in a mid-range birdie putt to become a three-time winner on the LPGA Tour. Vu began to smile as the ball raced toward the hole, and when it finally rolled over the edge of the cup, English fans roared for their latest champion, Lilia Vu, who is now the first American to win two majors in one season since Juli Inkster last did it in 1999.
“I think I really took it one shot at a time. I really don’t remember a single shot in particular, but just playing my game,” Vu said. “I didn’t look too hard at the leaderboard. I wasn’t really sure where I was. I kind of knew I was doing really well and I think I glanced at the 16th green to see I was on, but I was going to play my game the whole time.
“It feels surreal to have this kind of Sunday and come out with a win, given that the last couple of months, I’ve been struggling with my game and it just feels good, I’m really happy.”
With Nelly Korda’s T11 finish, Vu is projected to move to No. 1 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Ranking for the first time in her LPGA Tour career. She became the First Rolex Winner in February at the Honda LPGA Thailand and won again just four starts later at the Chevron Championship, defeating Angel Yin in a playoff to claim her first major title and second win of the season.
It’s been a little tough for the 25-year-old since she won her first major of the year in Houston, Texas – Vu has missed four cuts in five starts since winning the Chevron Championship – but it’s those challenges that will make this AIG Women’s Open victory much sweeter. It will also remind Vu that, while she feels her two wins last spring were “clues,” she is indeed one of the most impressive talents on the LPGA Tour and belongs at the top of the women’s game, having rightfully put herself there with her. Sunday performance at Walton Heath.
“I honestly just wanted to win golf tournaments here on the LPGA,” said Vu, who will become the fourth American ever to reach the top spot in the Rolex Rankings, joining Nelly Korda, Stacy Lewis and Cristie Kerr. “It’s just been a crazy year for me, I was doing really well at the beginning of the season and once I hit the middle, I’m just struggling. I thought about the US Open after I played so badly, I didn’t know if I could win again. I think I went into this week with a good mindset. My team and I just talked about trying to be in contention on the weekend, and that was all I could do.
“To be the best in the world, that’s just crazy to me, and just thinking about the race I’ve had this year and just doing it, it’s just unbelievable.”
#Lilia #wins #title #Major #LPGA #Tour #season #LPGA #Association #Womens #Golf #Professionals