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‘The longest 18 holes I’ve ever played’: Amy Yang wins maiden major on 75th attempt at Women’s PGA Championship

By Jack Bantock, CNN

(CNN) — If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Or if you’re Amy Yang, try 75 times to win your first major – ending an almost two-decades wait – after the South Korean golfer survived a late scare to win the Women’s PGA Championship in Washington on Sunday.

Seven shots clear with just three holes to play at Sahalee Country Club, alarm bells rang when Yang bogeyed and double bogeyed the subsequent two holes, but the 34-year-old righted the ship with a closing par to finish three stokes clear of compatriot Ko Jin-young and American Lilia Vu at seven-under par overall.

“It’s incredible,” Yang, who carded a final round even-par 72, told reporters. “I was so nervous at the beginning of the day, even the night before.

“I told Jan [Meierling, caddie] on the 18th fairway, this has been the longest 18 holes I’ve ever played in my career.”

Despite five wins on the LPGA Tour, victory on the biggest stage had eluded Yang for 18 years. In 74 prior major starts, she had finished inside the top-10 on 21 outings, and twice as a runner-up at the US Women’s Open in 2012 and 2015.

With 17 of those top-10 finishes coming between 2009 and 2017, Yang’s best window of opportunity looked to have passed, yet the world No. 25 mastered a star-studded field and a demanding course to become the LPGA Tour’s oldest major winner since Angela Stanford claimed the 2018 Evian Championship at 40-years-old.

Stanford is the sole player to have waited longer for their first major than Yang, and only just: the American triumphed on her 76th attempt.

“At one point I thought, ‘Will I ever win a major championship before I retire?’” Yang said.

“I finally did it and it’s just amazing.”

Victory secured Yang $1.56 million in prize money and stamped her ticket to the Paris Olympics next month. It will mark her second appearance at the Games, having finished tied-fourth in Rio in 2016.

“That was one of my biggest goals for this year,” Yang said.

“Missing cuts past few tournaments and I saw my world ranking went down so I wasn’t sure if this winning was enough to make the team. But I made it, so I’m very grateful for that.”

Korda tumbles

It was another tough weekend for world No. 1 Nelly Korda, who carded the worst round of her professional career to tumble from within touching distance of the lead to missing the cut for the third tournament in a row.

Already chasing her seventh win of the season, the American made a stellar start with an opening three-under 69, just one stroke shy of early leader and compatriot Lexi Thompson.

Yet the 25-year-old nosedived during Friday’s second round, carding eight bogeys and a double bogey en route to a nine-over 81.

It marked the highest score of her eight-year pro career and resigned her to a third consecutive missed cut after failing to make the weekend at the Meijer LPGA Classic and last month’s US Women’s Open, the latter of which included a septuple-bogey.

“No words for how I’m playing right now,” Korda, who won the first major of the season at the Chevron Championship in April, told reporters.

“I’m just going to go home and try to reset … A lot went my way at the beginning part of the year, and just giving it back.”

The major calendar continues with The Evian Championship in France on July 11, before concluding with the Women’s British Open at St. Andrews in Scotland on August 22.

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