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Double-bogey spurs Ji to US Open title

A DOUBLE-BOGEY midway through the final round inspired Ji Eun-hee of South Korea to win the US Women's Open in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on Sunday.

The 23-year-old Ji dropped to three shots off the pace after the par-four 10th, but from there she made three birdies, including a 20-footer at the 18th that gave her a first major championship.

"I think that double bogey on No. 10 actually gave me an opportunity to sort of calm myself down, and I think it was one of the factors of winning this tournament," Ji said.

Ji, who last year won her only other LPGA Tour title, chose to try and reach the inviting 10th green from the tee, an uphill drive of 242 yards to the pin. She came up short into a greenside bunker and blasted into another bunker before finally getting out into thick rough.

She chipped onto the green and took two putts for six.

"I was extremely disappointed at the double bogey," she said. "But after that I made a couple of birdies and got the feel back to my shots."

Ji said the sudden slide alleviated some of the pressure of her chase after Cristie Kerr, her playing partner who had carried a 2-shot lead into the final round.

"Up until that point, Cristie Kerr was so far ahead, and I just didn't think anyone was going to be able to catch up with her. After that double bogey, I basically cleared my mind and said, 'let's go and play out the rest of the round.'"

Ji birdied the 13th from two feet and drained a 45-footer to birdie 14 to negate the double bogey and join a four-way tie for the lead.

As bogeys sank Kerr and Kim In-kyung of South Korea, Ji reached the 18th tied with Candie Kung of Chinese Taipei for the lead with the prospect of a three-hole playoff looming.

Her approach shot to the green went like a dream.

"The distance was perfect and the spin was just ideal. It was a very good shot. Right before hitting the putt, I was nervous to the point where my hands were shaking.

"Just winning a tournament of this magnitude and gaining so many more fans, I love stuff like that.

Kung, who began the day five strokes behind Kerr, fired a 2-under-par 69 for 285.

"I was very proud of myself shooting red numbers at the US Open," said 27-year-old Kung, who finished 68-69 to overcome a second-round 77.

American Brittany Lincicome, winner of the year's first major, the Kraft Nabisco, was a short further back after shooting a closing 70.

Tied for sixth on 288 were Suzann Pettersen of Norway (71), Ai Miyazato of Japan (69) and American Paula Creamer, who bounced back from a third-round 79 to shoot 69.


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