KPMG PGA Champion, In Gee Chun poses with the KPMG trophy after the Trophy Ceremony. (Photo by Montana Pritchard/PGA of America)
It will go down as a wire-to-wire Major Championship victory for In-Gee Chun. But those that watched might tell you a different story. With a sensational par-saving putt on the 72nd hole, South Korea’s superstar collected her third major. Golf is endlessly mired in a million details, but when it comes down to it, putting always seems to crown the victor.
In Gee started the day with a three-shot lead. By the 3rd hole her lead was gone, and she was tied with Lexi Thompson. Lexi maintained the lead and made the turn with a ton of crowd support.
Chun and Lexi traded blows on the back nine. Birdies and bogeys defined their epic match on the final day. And Minjee Lee, who won the U.S. Women’s Open just a few weeks ago, nearly forced a playoff, finishing at 4-under-par, just a stroke back of In Gee Chun.
Both Lexi and In Gee knew what they needed to win after Minjee Lee posted the 4-under total. On the 16th hole, the same hole where In Gee had an ill-timed double bogey on Saturday, she swung the Championship with a birdie. Chun remained steady and made par on 17.
In a truly major setting on the 18th hole, In Gee completed her Major performance with a par and a one-stroke victory. She started the Championship on Thursday by making 123’ of putts. Chances are though, the last few feet of putts on the 72nd hole may be what she remembers the most.
Chun hadn’t won since 2018. Her last Major title was in 2016 at the Evian Championship, the same year she won the Vare Trophy (scoring title) and Rolex Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year awards. Getting back to the winner’s circle is always an incredible challenge.
She was believed to be the LPGA’s next superstar five years ago. Maybe those expectations weighed her down. It can be tough to be the biggest star in a country that is insatiable for golf. We may never know what caused her meteoric rise to pause, but one thing is for certain… In Gee Chun is now a 3-time Major Champion.