Another year of competitive golfing has come and gone, allowing us to witness a handful of young and promising players, unbelievable comebacks, and first-time winners. As we wait for the 2017 season that’s just around the corner, it’s a good time to review the amazing feats we’ve seen so far. Let’s take a look back at some of the best moments of the 2016 LPGA Tour.
ANA Inspiration (Mar 31 – Apr 3): Lydia Ko Becomes Youngest Two-Time Major Winner
Lydia Ko was already making waves when she won the Evian Championship in September 2015, where she became the youngest woman to ever win a major championship. In 2016, she emerged victorious from the ANA Inspiration tournament. Though Ko was initially able to take the lead due to Lexi Thompson’s shaky start, Jutanugarn shifted the game’s momentum by pulling off three-consecutive birdies. Ko, on the other hand, was unable to land a single birdie for nine consecutive holes. Unfortunately, Jutanugarn ended up landing bogeys on the 16th and 17th holes. Thus, Ko finished the course with a score of 12-under par, just one shot ahead of In Gee Chun and Charley Hull. Thus, she made history by becoming the youngest player—at 18 years, 11 months, and 9 days—to win two major championships.
KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (Jun 9 – 12): Brooke Henderson Becomes Youngest Winner Ever
Brooke Henderson has always been a name to look out for in the golfing scene. During the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, she definitely made Canada proud as she faced off against Lydia Ko. Though the game began with Ko in the lead by two shots, Henderson drained a putt at par 5, 11th hole for eagle, turning the tables. Henderson eventually tied with Ko by landing a birdie putt at the par 3, 17th hole. On the 18th hole, Henderson won with an approach to three feet for birdie against Ko’s approach to 20 feet. Not only did 18-year-old Henderson win her first ever major championship, but she also became the youngest-ever victor of the tournament.
U.S. Women’s Open (Jul 7 – 10): Anna Nordqvist’s Delayed Penalty Leads to Brittany Lang’s Win
Though the U.S. Women’s Open may be the oldest of the five current championships, it’s one that’s become the center of a huge controversy. It seemed like it would be a tough play-off at the final hole for players Anna Nordqvist and Brittany Lang. However, the tides turned in Lang’s favor thanks to a delayed two-stroke penalty that was called on Nordqvist because her club touched the sand in a bunker on the second playoff hole. Unfortunately, Nordqvist was only informed of the penalty after she approach. Thanks to the two-shot lead, Lang was able to seal the win on the final playoff hole with a short par putt.
Ricoh Women’s British Open (Jul 28 – 31): Ariya Jutanugarn is Thailand’s First Ever Major Winner
Though it seemed like the trophy nearly slipped from her fingers, 20-year-old Ariya Jutanugarn won the Ricoh Women’s British Open at 16-under par. On the final round, Jutanugarn began with a score of 16-under par, creating a nearly five-stroke lead ahead of her competitors Mo Martin and Mirim Lee. Unfortunately, Jutanugarn landed double bogey at the par 4, 13th hole, closing the gap to just one stroke ahead of Lee. At the par 3, 17th hole, though, Jutanugarn managed to make a comeback, putting nearly 20-feet for a birdie, resulting in a two-stroke lead before the final hole.
Evian Championship (Sep 15 – 18): In Gee Chun Breaks Major Record with Lowest Ever 72-Hole Score
22-year-old South Korean In Gee Chun nearly lost her shot at the championship when her tee ended up in the left rough. Thankfully, she was able to recover by chopping back onto the fairway using a wedge and gliding her ball over the water. Once she sank the 10-feet putt, she finished with a score of 21-under par. Thus, she broke the record for the lowest winning score in a major tournament for both men and women. She has also made history as one of only two players whose first two LPGA wins came at majors. The other player was Chun’s compatriot Se Ri Pak, who made her mark back in 1998.
These defining moments make the 2016 LPGA Tour one of the most memorable seasons in the history of the LPGA and women’s golf as a whole. Stay tuned to the Swing Control Blog for more updates in the future!