WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) — Wei-Ling Shu eagled the par-5 15th hole Sunday, creating a four-shot swing that gave her a two-shot lead, and won the LPGA Tour’s Pure Silk Championship for her first career victory.
She closed with a 3-under 68 to finish at 13-under 271, two shots clear of playing partner Moriya Jutanugarn.
Jutanugarn had a 70. Jessica Korda was third at 10 under after a 70.
Shu’s eagle, aided by a fortuitous bounce that left her with a very makeable putt, came as Jutanugarn, who started the hole with a two-shot lead, drove into a bunker, needed two shots to get out, hit her approach to the edge of the green and three-putted for a double bogey.
And it all happened on the easiest hole on the course, again showing it can also be the decisive one.
The victory for the 26-year-old from Taiwan, in her 147th career start, was all but assured with another birdie on the par-4 16th that stretched her lead to three. And it came on a sweltering day on the Kingsmill Resort’s James River Course with parched fairways and greens that were fast and firm for all four rounds — unusual for May in Virginia.
For much of the day, the battle for the lead was like a juggling act.
Jessica Korda pulled into a three-way tie for the lead with third-round co-leaders Shu and Jutanugarn with a birdie at the par-4 sixth while Jutanugarn bogeyed and Hsu made par. Korda went ahead two holes later with a par when her two playing partners bogeyed.
That sequence started a near-constant shifting of the lead, with Jutanugarn and Hsu getting back to a share of the lead after the 10th hole, and Sarah Kemp making it a four-way tie with a birdie on the par-4 12th in the group just ahead of the final threesome.
Hsu regained the top spot at No. 12 with a birdie while Korda fell two back, and then Jutanugarn enjoyed the same two-shot swing with a birdie at the par-3 13th while Hsu two-putted for bogey after missing the green.
Jutanugarn’s lead doubled with her third birdie in four holes on the par-4 14th, setting up the remarkable final lead-swap at 15.
Jutanugarn did sink a long birdie putt on the par-3 17th, applying some pressure to Hsu, but she rolled in a putt for par, pumping her right fist as it dropped into the cup.
Korda also birdied the 17th, leaving Shu with a two-shot lead heading the par-4 18th, but Korda bogeyed the 18th, leaving Jutaugarn alone in second and Korda third.
Kemp was fourth at 9 under after a 70.
The tournament, once among the most popular on the tour, failed to attract several of the game’s top players, perhaps because its purse of $1.3 million is third-lowest on the tour.