Thompson's first 2017 win makes up for ANA agony

WILLIAMSBURG (Virginia) • Lexi Thompson won her eighth career LPGA title on Sunday, firing a six-under 65 to capture the Kingsmill Championship in Williamsburg by five strokes for her first victory this year.

The American had appeared set to win a major title last month at the ANA Inspiration before a television viewer discovered a violation, resulting in a day-late application of a four-stroke punishment that led to her eventual play-off defeat.

That prompted a rule change too late to help Thompson, who fought through the heartache and admitted Sunday's triumph carried extra special meaning because of how she lost last month at Rancho Mirage, California.

"Oh it really does," Thompson said. "It has really been tough the past few months. I've been working so hard for this."

Thompson finished 72 holes in a tournament-record 264 to defeat South Korean Chun In Gee (67) by five strokes for her first Kingsmill crown.

American Angela Stanford (66) was third on 273, one stroke ahead of compatriot Danielle Kang (68).

World No. 1 Lydia Ko of New Zealand held onto her spot atop the rankings by sharing 10th on 277 despite a final-round 73. Second-ranked Ryu So Yeon (68) of South Korea also shared 10th while the other rival who could have overtaken Ko, Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn (71), shared 18th on 280.

Later on Sunday, world No. 10 Jang Ha Na announced that she is rescinding her membership of the US LPGA Tour and will return to South Korea to compete on the domestic circuit from next month.

The 25-year-old has endured a trying year because of issues away from the course.

She hit the headlines last year in March when a bag carried by her father came crashing down an escalator at Singapore's Changi Airport and slammed into South Korean rival Chun, forcing her to miss the LPGA's HSBC Women's Champions tournament.

Adding insult to injury for Chun and her fans, Jang won the tournament in Singapore and celebrated with a memorable "Beyonce-style" dance, prompting a firestorm of criticism from the Korean media.

The controversy lingered for weeks, with Jang reduced to tears at subsequent media conferences.

And last October, at the Hana Bank Championship, security had to deal with a spectator verbally abusing Jang.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2017, with the headline 'Thompson's first 2017 win makes up for ANA agony'. Print Edition | Subscribe