South Korea’s Lee Mi-rim wins ANA Inspiration in playoff

South Korea's Lee Mi-rim wins ANA Inspiration in playoffSouth Korea's Lee Mi-rim wins ANA Inspiration in playoff
South Korea’s Lee Mi-rim on the way to a playoff victory in the LPGA’s ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, California

Lee Mi-rim won the ANA Inspiration in stunning style Sunday, chipping in for eagle at the 72nd hole and beating Brooke Henderson and Nelly Korda with a birdie at the first playoff hole.

Lee, 29, earned her first major victory with a final round of five-under par 67 that included three chip-ins — two of them for birdie — on the Mission Hills course in Rancho Mirage, California.

She was joined on 15-under par 273 by Korda and Henderson — who shared the overnight lead and both carded final-round 69s.

It was a heartbreaking defeat for 22-year-old American Korda, who led or shared the lead after each of the first three rounds.

Seeking a first major title, Korda led by two shots with four to play and had a one-stroke lead over playing partner Henderson as they walked off the 17th green.

But up ahead, Lee was playing the par-five 18th.

She had holed out from long range for birdie at 16 before a bogey at 17 appeared to put her out of contention.

But that changed when her chip from off the green at 18 raced to the hole, hit the flagstick and dropped in.

“I can’t believe it,” Lee said as she wiped away tears before taking the traditional champion’s leap into Poppie’s Pond.

Henderson and Korda had traded the lead on the back nine, Henderson falling back with a double-bogey at the 13th.

Henderson and Korda were both in the rough off the tee at the 72nd hole. Korda, forced to lay up, came away with a par.

Henderson’s second shot into the green rolled under the “wall” of fabric-covered scaffolding erected alongside the green at 18.

Her ball was extracted and she got up and down for birdie to join the playoff and the trio returned to the 18th tee.

Korda was in the rough again on the way to a par. Henderson and Lee both found the fairway but missed the green, Henderson unable to get a birdie putt to drop as Lee chipped to five feet and made it.

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