American star Lilia Vu sealed an impressive victory at the Women’s Open on Sunday, as she remained unyielding under the pressure of the final round while her rivals dropped shots along the way.
The 25-year-old began the day on nine-under par, sharing the lead with England’s Charley Hull, and carded six birdies along with a bogey to finish the day 14-under par, and win her second major of the year at the Walton Health Golf Club in Tadworth, England.
“It sounds almost unreal,” Vu said afterwards. “I had a pretty tough run the past couple of months. I didn’t feel like myself these past couple of months, I came into this tournament and sat down with my team and just wanted to be in contention, that’s all we wanted and somehow this happened.”
Hull, meanwhile, conjured up some magical shots including a hole out from a bunker for eagle on the 11th, but ultimately proved too inconsistent as four bogeys hampered her title challenge and she finished six strokes back.
South Korea’s Jiyai Shin finished third a further stroke back while her compatriots Amy Yang and Hyo Joo Kim tied for fourth on six-under par.
Victory marked a comeback of sorts for Vu who has endured a rollercoaster few months. In April, she won the Chevron Championship after a playoff win against Angel Yin to seal the first major of her career, but she then failed to make the cut in four LPGA events, including the Women’s PGA Championship and the U.S. Women’s Open.
“After the Chevron, how I felt afterwards and honestly thinking that those wins were a fluke, and just to be here today I can’t thank my family and my team enough for really believing in me,” an emotional Vu added.
“It was really hard those past couple of months and somehow they believed in me and helped me get this win here.”
Vu became the first American winner of the Women’s Open since 2014.
It was a remarkably consistent tournament for Vu who hit five birdies in her second round of 68, sunk seven more on Saturday to take a share of the lead going into the final round, and another six on Sunday.
Her only real wobble of the day come on the 15th hole when her drive landed in the rough, and her third shot found the bunker but she rescued a bogey and Hull was unable to take advantage.
Vu’s compatriot Ally Ewing, who had been the runaway leader ahead of the final two rounds, eventually finished in a tie for sixth, four-under par.