US Womens Open Golf
Australian Sarah Jane Smith's bid for US Women's Open glory ended disappointingly as former world No.1 Ariya Jutanugarn overcame a horror collapse to triumph in a playoff.
Surprise packet Smith held a three-shot halfway lead following back to back 67s and was second only to 22-year-old Thai star Jutanugarn entering the last round but she shot an ugly six-over-par 78 on Sunday to finish tied fifth.
South Korea's Hyo Joo Kim fired a closing 68 to match Jutanugarn, who squandered a seven-shot lead on the back nine for a 73.
But Jutanugarn regrouped to claim her second major championship title with a par save from a bunker at the fourth hole of their playoff.
Without a win in 222 starts on the LPGA Tour since her 2006 debut, 33-year-old Smith still had a decent chance when she started the final round four shots behind Jutanugarn, playing beside her in the final group at Shoal Creek in Alabama.
However she struggled badly, mixing six bogeys and a double bogey with her two birdies to slip to 11 shots behind the winner.
She also got to witness Jutanagarn's horror show at close range.
Jutanugarn, the 2016 Women's British Open champion, led by seven shots after the front nine but a triple bogey on No. 10 cut the lead to four and seemed to shake her confidence.
She still had a two-shot lead with two holes remaining, but closed with back-to-back bogeys to fall into the playoff.
"That back (nine) got me a lot," said Jutanugarn, who is set to rise to No.2 in the world.
"After you have seven-shot lead and end up in playoff, I had no expectation because I kind of got mad a little bit with my back nine.
"I (told myself) I'm going to make sure I do my best very best, because I feel like I didn't commit the back nine. I have the last chance to make myself proud."
Jutanugarn and Kim finished regulation at 11 under 277, four shots clear of third-placed Spaniard Carlota Ciganda (69) while American Danielle Kang (69) was a shot further back fourth.
Smith tied with American star Lexi Thompson (70), Taiwan's Wei-Ling Su (72) and Thai amateur Patty Tavatanakit (71).
Su Oh (73) was the next-best Australian in a tie for 17th while Minjee Lee (71) tied 34th.