The 23-year-old birdied four of the final six holes at TPC Deere Run for a 6-under 65 and an 18-under 266 total to beat third-round leader Patrick Rodgers by a stroke.
Choi’s second-place finish was nonetheless the most accomplished runner-up finish ever by an amateur in this championship. Park finished at 11-under 277 for a two-stroke win over Choi.
Although Feng makes it a habit of not paying attention to the leaderboard, she sensed she had fallen behind by the 18th hole because Park had already finished to a roar by the time Feng addressed her approach shot. Park made birdie at the 12th to make it a three-way tie for the lead. Her best previous finish on tour was second place at the Evian Championship as an amateur past year.
“To be honest with you, I still can not believe that it is actually happening”, Park said through a translator after accepting the trophy.
Englands Charley Hull finished tied for 21st after a closing 73.
Sung Hyun Park gained a reputation in her native South Korea as being an aggressive player, so aggressive that fans there gave her a nickname that loosely translates in English to “Shut your mouth and attack”. Feng also led after both the first and second rounds.
But there was no stopping her this year as she showed remarkable poise to fire six birdies in her final round. That’s Cristie Kerr, who was five shots off the lead. 2, 5 and 8, then added three more on Nos.
“Coming to this week, I didn’t have any expectation at all”. I just wanted to bring out my A game. “If Plan A doesn’t work I’ll go to Plan B”, Feng said of her final round.
“I’m going to do the same things and see what happens”.
Overnight leader Feng Shanshan slipped back into a tie for fifth after a 75.
“(Compared) to a lot of Korean female players, I guess I am more aggressive in my play”, said 23-year-old Park.
Feng shot a 1-under 71 to reach 9-under 207 at the president’s Trump National Golf Club.
Sei Young Kim, Mirim Lee and Amy Yang were two shots further back on five-under to take a share of eighth.
“I played probably the first nine holes in the rain, but my phone told me it was going to rain all afternoon and I was prepared”, Feng told the LPGA website. “I am not really focusing on the prize money for now”.
Of the three players in second, the performance of amateur Choi was the most noteworthy – with Catherine Lacoste’s triumph in this event 50 years ago the last time a major was won by a player yet to turn professional. “That birdie made my day”. But rather than succumb to pressure, Park cozied her fourth shot to two feet and then made the par putt to secure the title. Inbee Park won the Women’s Open in 2008 and ’13.
Top-ranked So Yeon Ryu (70) and fellow South Korean Mi Jung Hur (68) tied for third at 7 under.