CNN

Chun In-gee won the PGA Women’s Championship and her third major in Maryland on Sunday with a wire-to-wire win, but not without some drama on the final day.

Ranked 33rd in the world, the South Korean led the way with a record-breaking opening round at Congressional Country Club, setting a new course record before extending her lead to six strokes halfway through Friday.

Yet a weekend dip saw the 27-year-old’s lead shrink to three heading into the Championship on Sunday, where with three holes to go she found herself trailing Lexi Thompson. After finishing the first round 10 shots behind Chun, the American held a two-shot lead with seven holes to play.

Making four bogeys on a disastrous front nine, Chun admitted the pressure of battling for his first major in six years was getting to him.

“I mean the truth, I couldn’t control all my pressure,” she told reporters.

“I believe if I stick to my game plan and have a chance in the back nine, then I try to hang in there.”

And she hung on, as Chun rallied with five pars and a crucial birdie on 16th in the final six holes to finish at three for the day and five under overall.

Meanwhile, Thompson fired three bogeys in her final five holes to see her grip on the title slip to death, as she finished one stroke behind Chun, tied with Australia’s Minjee Lee for second.

Champion of the US Women’s Open in 2015 and the Evian Championship a year later, the win marks the end of a four-year winless streak for Chun, whose last LPGA Tour win was at LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship in October 2018.

It also sees her claim $1.35 million of a record $9 million purse from the PGA Women’s Championship, with the prize money having doubled from last year’s event.

Chun celebrates his par putt on the 18th green to win.

In an emotional press conference, Chun spoke of the culmination of a difficult four-year journey in which she said she faced calls from some to retire.

“When I had a meltdown, some people said, ‘In-gee, you should retire because your game isn’t good right now,'” she said.

“But no matter what they said, I believe I can win again. I’m so proud now.

Speaking to her older sister last week, Chun admitted that, struggling to “see the purpose”, she was considering leaving the United States. Yet when her brother advised her to quit golf to prioritize herself, Chun realized she wasn’t ready to quit.

“I think this win is really special because I always said my depression was getting better,” Chun said.

“I really cried [talking to her sister] … When I heard what she said, I think I still have a spirit, that I still want to play golf.

“I’m so happy to win after everything that’s happened. I just want to keep saying, ‘I’m so proud of myself.’

“That’s why I want to keep saying thank you to everyone who believed in me and never gave up on me.”

US Open champion Lee, who narrowly missed a second major the same month, believes the win will give Chun “a huge boost of confidence”.

Lee - who finished tied for second - plays his shot from the 11th tee.

“I think she went through a few hardships here and there,” Lee told reporters.

“So I think she’ll be really, really happy and just grateful to everyone around her.”

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