BETHESDA, Md. — In Gee Chun was an upbeat, smiling presence throughout the Women’s PGA Championship — easy enough when you shoot 64 in the first round and lead comfortably for much of the tournament.
In the final round, all of her positive thinking was put to the test.
“Golf is never easy,” the 27-year-old South Korean said.
Chun won her third major championship, playing her best in the first round on a wet day and then persevering through a steamy weekend at Congressional. On Sunday, she quickly lost what was left of a once-sizeable lead, then rallied to win by one when Lexi Thompson’s putting faltered down the stretch.
Chun shot a three-over 75 on each of the last two days of the tournament. She finished at five-under 283, barely enough to beat out Thompson (73) and Minjee Lee (70) by a stroke.
“Before start today my coach told me, ‘In Gee, if you enjoy your game, this trophy is yours,’” Chun said. “Sometimes it’s really hard to keep smiling when my game, I mean, going not good, but I think I hung in there. So I’m so proud now.”
After leading by six at the tournament’s midway point, Chun lost a three-shot advantage in the first three holes of the final round. Thompson was two strokes ahead of Chun after the front nine, but Thompson’s putting problems were just beginning.
The 27-year-old Floridian botched a par putt from a couple feet on No. 14, but a birdie on 15 restored her lead to two. Then she bogeyed the par-five 16th while Chun made birdie, leaving the two players tied with two holes remaining.
Thompson, who declined a post-round news conference, three-putted for bogey on 17. After an impressive approach from the rough on 18, her birdie putt wasn’t hit firmly enough.
Schauffele emerges for Travelers victory
CROMWELL, Conn. — Xander Schauffele won the Travelers Championship with a three-stroke swing on the final hole, hitting to three feet for birdie after rookie Sahith Theegala took two shots to get out of a bunker and made a double bogey in the group ahead.
A stroke ahead entering the day, Schauffele finished with a two-under 68 at TPC River Highlands to beat former Pepperdine star Theegala (67) and J.T. Poston (64) by two strokes. The Olympic champion had a 19-under 261 total.
“My mind was telling me to hit a good drive and then use your sand wedge or lob wedge in there and make birdie,” Schauffele said. “To sit there and watch what happened was a bit of a shock, obviously. I really had to try and focus on the task at hand.”
Schauffele won for the sixth time on the PGA Tour and the second this season.
Theegala grabbed a share of the lead on 15, driving the green on the par-four hole and making a four-foot birdie putt. He overtook Schauffele with an 11-footer for birdie on 17, pumping his fist.
But Theegala hit his tee shot on 18 left and into the front lip of a fairway bunker. He needed two tries to get out the bunker.
“Somehow my body just, I just straight bladed it,” he said. “I had room there. I don’t know how it looked, but I had room there. Just didn’t think I would let myself blade it. But I guess the moment was — and then from there it’s, like, got to try and make 5 now.”
His 12-foot bogey putt lipped out, and he fell to his knees in agony.
Harrington wins in U.S. Senior Open debut
BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Padraig Harrington holed a 30-foot birdie putt on the 15th right when the last of his five-shot lead was about to vanish, and he closed with three tough pars for a one-over 72 to hold off Steve Stricker and win the U.S. Senior Open.
Harrington never lost the lead at Saucon Valley on a day when he made it hard on himself.
Stricker, who started the final round eight shots behind, began making his run with consecutive birdies to finish the front nine, and he closed with two straight birdies for a 65.
That left him one shot behind, and the Irishman needed only pars to win for the first time on the PGA Tour Champions.
Harrington is the third straight player to win the U.S. Senior Open in his debut, following Jim Furyk last year and Stricker in 2019.
LIV Golf tournament opposed in Oregon
Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf is getting a chilly reception in Oregon, its first stop in the United States.
This coming week, the series, which is paying enormous signing fees for players like Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, descends on Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in tiny North Plains, nestled in the rolling hills west of Portland.
But the North Plains mayor, as well as officials from surrounding cities, have written the club’s owner, Escalante Golf, with concerns. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is speaking out against the tournament, and some members of the pricy club also are uncomfortable with the situation.
Opponents point to Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses, including the murder of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“We oppose this event because it is being sponsored by a repressive government whose human rights abuses are documented. We refuse to support these abuses by complicitly allowing the Saudi-backed organization to play in our backyard,” said in a letter signed by North Plains Mayor Teri Lenahan and 10 other mayors from surrounding cities.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.