Putts never find the hole more easily than when they don’t really matter, as Lilia Vu displayed on Sunday afternoon at the AIG Women’s Open. Tied for the lead with Charley Hull, and with six other women within four shots, Vu quickly showed us that she was in a league of her own at Walton Heath. Vu played the difficult opening stretch on Sunday in -1 while competitors faltered around her. Then, as her lead shrank ever so slightly, Vu rattled off three birdies in a four-hole stretch as she made the turn. By the time she reached the 72nd green, Vu’s lead had grown to five shots. She casually knocked in a 20-foot birdie putt on the last for a final-round 67 and a six-shot win. Vu made just one bogey in the final round; her 67 was the lowest score of the day.
In the span of six months, Lilia Vu went from a third-year LPGA Tour player with a strong amateur record to the No. 1 player in the Rolex Ranking. More than that, she is the first American to win multiple majors in the same season since the turn of the century. In an era rampant with one-time major winners, Vu quickly snatched up two in the same year.
Unlike most big names in women’s professional golf, Lilia Vu didn’t turn professional early and dominate right away. She’s nine months older than Nelly Korda and only about 2.5 years younger than Lexi Thompson, but she’s spent much less time at the top level. Despite that lack of experience, Vu has already won more majors than either Korda or Thompson, and she’s matched the likes of Jin Young Ko and Lydia Ko. That’s not to say she’ll win six or seven major titles; to do that, she’ll likely need to show more consistency than she showed this year. But to this point in their careers, Lilia Vu has shown a level of comfort when in contention that Lexi and Nelly would likely covet. You can debate amongst yourselves whether that’s due to a lack of scar tissue or whether she possesses a special kind of tenacity. No matter the actual factors, the fact remains that just three active LPGA Tour players — Inbee Park, In Gee Chun, and Anna Nordqvist — have more major titles than Lilia Vu.
Vu is the envy of the LPGA Tour right now. If she continues to elevate her play when the lights are brightest, she’ll be the envy of women’s golf for the foreseeable future.
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