Smith eyes career-best result in US Women's Open

US Women's Open: Ariya Jutanugarn leads by four shots after three rounds

Ariya Jutanugarn let a seven-stroke lead slip through her fingers at the U.S. Women's Open on Sunday after a remarkable back-nine collapse but averted disaster by beating South Korean Kim Hyo-joo in a playoff to collect her second major title.

Kim then got another huge putt to drop at the 15th which got her within one of the long-time leader, but Jutanugarn regained her composure to knock a precise tee shot in close at the short 16th which lifted her spirits heading to the final two holes.

She led the field in driving accuracy, hitting 91.7 percent of the fairways and missing only one on Sunday, and was second in total putts, using only 25 in the final 18 holes and averaging 26.63 for the 72 holes of regulation.

But Jutanugarn regrouped to claim her second major championship title with a par save from a bunker at the fourth hole of their playoff.

Going to the 18th for the final playoff hole both Kim and Jutanugarn missed the green.

She won the Lotte Championship this year and has two previous top 10 finishes in the US Women's Open.

Carlota Ciganda (69) finished well back in outright third at seven under, four shots ahead of Danielle Kang (69).

"I think I'm going to sleep well tonight", Ariya said. Kim's shot out of the bunker was decent, but Jutanugarn's was phenomenal, rolling right next to cup and setting up an easy par putt. "So we had a really good lesson before Kingsmill (two weeks ago) and then I actually missed the cut but felt like I played really well". Kim had a birdie on the first hole in the two-hole aggregate playoff but gave back a shot with a bogey on the next hole. She became the second youngest player in LPGA history to win a major championship, capturing the 2016 KPMG Women's PGA Championship at 18 years, 9 months and 2 days.

She opened the day in a three-way tie atop the leaderboard with Jutanugarn and Korean Jeongeun Lee. I feel comfortable on the greens, which has been something that has been a little bit off lately.

Surprise packet Smith held a three-shot halfway lead following back to back 67s and was second only to 22-year-old Thai star Jutanugarn entering the last round but she shot an ugly six-over-par 78 on Sunday to finish tied fifth.

A large pack including former champions Michelle Wie and Park In-bee were tied for fourth at three under, which means Smith is seven strokes clear of everyone but Ariya and Oh.

Smith, who is ranked 97th in the world, has put on an impressive performance this week after she switched back to a old set of clubs. So it's nice to be able to feel like I'm seeing the greens really well and seeing some putts go in. She says she was not surprised the scoring was low because players could attack the layout, softened by a rolling series of deluges during the past few days.

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