July 23rd, 2024

Lilia Vu wins playoff, spoils Thompson’s bid for first LPGA victory in five years

By The Associated Press on June 16, 2024.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) – Lilia Vu won the Meijer LPGA Classic in a playoff Sunday in her return from a back injury, spoiling Lexi Thompson’s bid for her first victory in five years.

Playing for the first time since the Ford Championship in late March in Arizona, Vu beat Thompson and third-round leader Grace Kim with a five-foot birdie putt on the third extra hole – the par-5 fourth at tree-lined Blythefield Country Club.

Thompson, the 2015 winner, has said this will be her last year playing a full schedule. She won the last of her 11 LPGA Tour titles at the ShopRite LPGA Classic in June 2019.

Vu birdied the par-5 18th in regulation for a 7-under 65, then twice more to match Thompson and Kim – who entered the day five strokes ahead of Thompson and eight clear of Vu – on the first two playoff holes.

Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., shot a final-round 72 to finish seven shots back of Vu. Hamilton’s Alena Sharp repeated her 76 of the third round to finish 6-over par for the tournament.

On the deciding hole, Vu hit her second shot into the bunker to the right of the green and blasted out to set up the birdie. Thompson and Kim missed long birdie tries after laying up following errant drives.

Vu birdied four of the last six holes in regulation to match Thomson and Kim at 16-under 272.

A former No. 1 player and double major winner last year, the 27-year-old American won for the fifth time on the LPGA Tour. The eight-stroke comeback is the largest of the season, one more than Linnea Strom overcame last week in the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

Thompson closed with a birdie for a 68.

Kim shot 73. The 23-year-old Australian won in a playoff last year in Hawaii for her lone LPGA Tour title.

Ally Ewing was fourth at 15 under after a 69. Allisen Corpuz and Narin An were 14 under, each shooting 70s.

Top-ranked Nelly Korda left Friday after missing her second straight cut following a stretch of six victories in seven events. She won at Blythefield in 2021 at a tournament-record 25 under.

The major KPMG Women’s PGA Championship begins Thursday at Sahalee outside Seattle.

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AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf

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