Vu makes it two in ’23

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The 25-year-old had started the final round level with Hull but within five holes she had a three-shot advantage.
Posted on
August 14, 2023
by
Robert Green in
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

The AIG Women’s Open at Walton Heath last week provided some excellent golf, even if the denouement could hardly be described as dramatic and the crowds did not get the winner most of them would have wanted. But victory for Lilia Vu from the United States, by six shots from England’s Charley Hull, was remarkable in its own way.

Vu makes it two in ’23
Lilia Vu celebrates victory (Jon Walton/PA)

The previous 22 women’s major championships had been won by 21 different golfers, with only Minjee Lee managing to double up. Vu’s emphatic triumph was her second big one of the year, bookending the major season with the Chevron Championship in April and now this in August. (As if in keeping with that inability of any woman to dominate the game at present, she had missed the cut in two of the others in between and tied for 42nd at the Evian Championship last month.) Vu now has three career wins on the LPGA Tour, all of them this year.

The 25-year-old had started the final round level with Hull but within five holes she had a three-shot advantage. By the 11th that had stretched to five before Hull holed out from a greenside bunker for an eagle three, a shot she celebrated with such gusto that she was in danger of falling back into the sand from which she had just so spectacularly escaped. But Hull’s hopes were forlorn. She bogeyed the 15th and 17th (the latter after play was briefly disrupted by protesters, a recurring theme of the sporting summer) before Vu finished in style with a 25-foot birdie putt at the last for a round of 67. Hull holed from 40 feet there to ensure second place would be hers alone. She had also finished runner-up at the US Open at Pebble Beach last month, although (somewhat reminiscent of Vu) she missed the cut in the other three majors of the year.

https://youtu.be/Oq5w1kkLUf0

“I thought my two wins were just a fluke,’ Vu said afterwards, reflecting that she had missed the cut in four of her past six tournaments. “I lost confidence. But I've got a great family and team around me and they gave me belief.” She graciously added: “The crowd was great. I loved playing with Charley and I understood that most people wanted her to win. But there were cheers for me, too, and it was very fair.” It would also be fair to suggest those were not entirely the sentiments of another American, Brian Harman, while he was on his way to victory in the men’s Open at Hoylake in July.

Hull, who is 27, is a seasoned campaigner compared to Vu. She competed in her first major in 2013 and has had nine top-10 placings, also including being runner-up at the 2016 Chevron Championship. She has only won twice on the LPGA Tour, but the most recent of those came in October last year, so with her second-place spots in two of this season’s majors maybe there is reason to believe that her best days lie ahead of her. She certainly thinks so. “I really feel like next year will be my time,” she said. “I’m going to really focus on working for the majors.”

In the meantime, this win elevated the new champion from sixth to first on the world rankings. Less than two years after she was playing on a feeder tour, Vu can enjoy the view from the top.

 

You can follow Robert Green on Twitter @robrtgreen and enjoy his other blog f-factors.com plus you can read more by him on golf at robertgreengolf.com

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About Robert Green

Robert Green is a former editor of Golf World and Golf International magazines and the author of four books on golf, including Seve: Golf’s Flawed Genius. He has played golf on more than 450 courses around the world, occasionally acceptably.

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