Brooke Henderson dazzles in victory at KPMG Women's PGA Championship

Brooke Henderson

Brooke Henderson dazzles in victory at KPMG Women's PGA Championship

LPGA Tour

Brooke Henderson dazzles in victory at KPMG Women's PGA Championship

SAMMAMISH, Wash. — The kids were out of control at the 62nd KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, and evidently they’re unaware it’s supposed to be experience, wisdom and veteran nerves that win majors.

At Sahalee Country Club, 18-year-old Brooke Henderson defeated 19-year-old Lydia Ko at the first hole of a sudden-death playoff that ended a day of dazzling, often-brilliant golf. After both players went without a bogey in Sunday’s final round and finished 72 holes at 6-under 278, Henderson, playing in her sixth major championship as a professional, stiffed a 155-yard approach to 3 feet and rolled in the birdie putt. A moment earlier, Ko had missed her birdie putt from 15 feet.

Henderson and Ko finished one stroke ahead of another youngster, 20-year-old Ariya Jutanugarn, who prepped for the season’s second major by winning three consecutive events last month.

Ko, who won the LPGA’s last two majors, appeared to have control when she made birdie at the par-4 eighth, the most difficult hole at Sahalee that yielded just eight birdies all week. That gave her a three-stroke lead over a group of five players, including Henderson. But Henderson, playing in her first full season on the LPGA, made three stunning shots during a 4-under 31 on her incoming nine.

She rolled in a 90-foot putt for eagle from in front of the green at the par-5 11th, drained a 40-foot birdie putt at No. 17, and at the par-4 18th, needing to make a 12-footer to stay tied with Ko, her putt was center cut. That gave her a final-round 65, the low score of the week, and made her the youngest winner of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

“The putt at 11,” said Henderson, “that was a huge jump forward for me. It was a big momentum changer.”

Henderson had no status on the LPGA Tour until late in 2015, after she Monday qualified for the Cambria Portland Classic and then won the event by eight strokes.

“It was an amazing day today,” said Henderson. “A year ago this was a dream and I thought this was possible. But this is a huge stepping stone for me.”

Jutanugarn made a good stretch run with birdies at the 16th and 17th holes, but her birdie putt at the last hole to get into the playoff missed, leaving her bogey-free on the day at 5-under-par 66. Completing the top six finishers at 2-under 282 were South Koreans Hee Young Park, So Yeon Ryu and Mirim Lee.

“I’m very proud and getting a lot more confident,” said Jutanugarn, “especially today, in a major.”

Ko was attempting to become the youngest player, male or female, to win three consecutive majors. She would have been four months younger than Young Tom Morris when he accomplished the feat in the 19th century.

It might not have been an accurate comparison since championship golf in the 1860s and ’70s bore little resemblance to 2016. In the first of his victories, in 1968, Morris faced just 11 other players and the format consisted of three nine-hole loops in one day.

“I played really solid all day,” said Ko, who has a third, two wins and a second in her last four majors. “I’m really happy with the way I played all day; I just got outplayed. Even though I’m not the winner at the end of the week, there are so many positives to take from the week.”

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