Thursday, January 18, 2018
Golf

In Gee Chun sets majors record with win at Evian Championship

EVIAN-LES-BAINS, France — Walking toward the 18th green at the Evian Championship on Sunday with one putt to make history, In Gee Chun felt the nerves gripping her.

After some motivating words from her caddie, she steadied herself and sank a putt from 10 feet to hold a difficult par. That putt saw her win on 21 under to record the lowest 72-round ever in a men's or women's major.

It was the South Korean's second major after winning last year's U.S. Open.

Victory was effectively assured as Chun, 21, approached the 18th tee. But it looked as if she might miss the record when her tee shot flew into the left rough.

After chatting with her caddie, she chose the safe option and used a wedge to chop her way onto the fairway, about 95 yards from the pin.

Then, Chun glided her ball over the water to give herself a shot at history. But the short walk to the green felt like an eternity.

"I was so nervous," Chun said. "So my caddie David Jones told me, 'If you make the par, I buy the dinner.' "

Jones might regret it when he sees the bill.

"I can pick any expensive one," said a smiling Chun, who broke the record of 20 under co-held by Henrik Stenson and Jason Day and also bettered the women's record by two.

She led from the start, although she did share the first-round lead with Sung Hyun Park, who finished four shots back in a tie for second with So Yeon Ryu. Park shot 2-under 69, Ryu 5-under 66.

Chun finished the day with 69, the most modest of her four rounds. Not that it took anything away from her achievement.

"I just cannot believe I won the Evian Championship and made 21 under par," Chun said moments after her win as she clutched the trophy. "I'm not dreaming right?"

Some difference from last year, when she missed the cut at Evian Resort. In 2014 she tied for 65th.

Over four days of intensely accurate driving and clinical putting, she was nearly faultless this time. Her only significant blemish was double bogey on the ninth hole in the third round.

There was one bogey Sunday, on the 14th, but Chun made birdie on the next to move back to 21 under.

CHAMPIONS: Paul Broadhurst made a 6-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th hole for 4-under 68 and a victory at the Nature Valley First Tee Open in Pebble Beach, Calif. Broadhurst finished at 11-under 204 for a one-stroke victory over Bernhard Langer (66) and second-round leader Kevin Sutherland (70).

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