Brittany Lang captured her first major championship on Sunday at the U.S. Women’s Open, defeating Anna Nordqvist in a three-hole aggregate playoff for the win.
The tournament was not without its share of controversy. Swede Nordqvist was deemed to have ground her club in a bunker on the second play-off hole, however, in a means reminiscent of Dustin Johnson's delayed penalty at last's months US Open, was only informed of her two-shot penalty by US officials as she approached the final green.
"Well, I was in the fairway bunker there on 17. It was blowing 35, 40, and I had a 5-iron, downhill lie. Just focusing on hitting my shots, and apparently I touched the sand. It wasn't on purpose. And just one of those things. I have to deal with the consequences. Unfortunately it happened, but it's not the end of the world," Nordqvist told the media.
"I wish USGA would have told me a little bit earlier than -- they approached me after I already hit my third shot into 18, then kind of ran up to Brittany to tell her that I got penalized. I don't know if it would have changed the outcome, but it certainly would have changed my aggressiveness into the 18th pin."
The pair was notified of the ruling in the fairway at the third playoff hole, the par 5, 18th hole where Lang went on to make par and Nordqvist a bogey.
Lang carded a final round one-under par, 71 to finish the championship at six-under par and in a share of the lead with Nordqvist, who carded the low round of the day with a five-under par, 67. Lang’s victory is the greatest 36-hole comeback since 1990, after trailing by seven strokes midway through the championship. She is just the second American to win on Tour in 2016 and third to capture the U.S. Women’s Open since 2010.
"Yeah, it's pretty special. I've always dreamed of winning the U.S. Open. I have so much respect for the USGA and for this tournament. And to see these players -- I actually said something to somebody in Arkansas, and I just feel like I have extremely underachieved as a golfer," Lang told the media. "I feel like I'm so capable of doing so much more than I've done. And this is just a little start to boost me."
The No.40 ranked player in the Rolex Rankings entered the final round two-strokes back of leader Lydia Ko after posting the low round on moving day with a 68 on Saturday to move into contention.
A critical birdie by Lang at the 16th hole broke her out of a tie with Anna Nordqvist, who carded the low round of the day on Sunday with a five-under par, 67 to take the lead in the clubhouse at six-under par. Nordqvist led the field this week in G.I.R. after becoming the first in the history of the championship to hit every green in regulation during the first round.
World number one Lydia Ko, who had held the lead going into the final round, slipped back to a tie for third after carding a three-over 75. The nineteen-year-old New Zealander, in search of her third major title, was leading after the eighth but faded after a double bogey and two bogeys in the middle of her round.
England's Jodi Ewart Shadoff shot a two-under 70 to finish in a tie for eighth place.
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