Jutanugarn earns four-stroke lead at U.S. Women's Open

Sarah Jane Smith of Australia looks over the 16th green during the second round of the 2018 U.S. Women's Open at Shoal Creek

She made a almost ideal bunker shot to within a foot of the cup on the tournament-clinching hole, beating South Korea's Hyo-Joo Kim, who shot a 5-under 67 in the final round to force the playoff.

And she really seems, guys, to be hitting her stride right now, while we've seen the leader at the start of the day, Sarah Jane Smith, stumble a bit here at eight and nine.

But a triple bogey on No. 10 cut the lead to four and rocked her confidence, especially with her 3-wood.

The two-hole play-off began at the 14th and Kim holed another long putt from the edge of the green for birdie, but she found a bunker at the 18th to drop a shot, while Jutanugarn sank a four-foot putt to take the Championship to sudden death.

The 2016 Women's British Open champion was only through eight holes in her second round when play was halted at the Shoal Creek Golf and Country Club in Alabama. She reached 16-under par with her birdie at the par 4, 9 hole to match Juli Inkster's record set in 1999 of the most strokes under par in a U.S. Women's Open.

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"I felt really good and kept my nerves under control, but I think the nerves showed up in my putting", she said.

World number five Jutanugarn birdied five of the first nine but four shots went in three holes in a one-over 73.

Sweden's Pernilla Lindberg, who beat Park in a play-off to win the first women's major of the year, the ANA Inspiration in April, finished a distant 15 over. A collapse that would have gone down in U.S. Women's Open lore was about to be averted.

The third-place finish at Shoal Creek marks her second consecutive top 10 on Tour. She is still chasing Smith, along with everyone else. It's no surprise to Ciganda she's finding momentum nearly halfway into the year.

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