Amy Yang – image PGA of America

In her 75th appearance in a major championship, 34-year-old South Korean Amy Yang has broken through for a first major title with a three-shot victory at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at the Sahalee Country Club near Seattle.

Yang began the final round two ahead of Lauren Hartlage and Japan’s Miyu Yamashita but with an outward nine of 34 and further birdies early in her back nine she had extended her lead to six through 15 holes.

Despite dropping three shots at her next two holes, including a double bogey when finding the water from the tee at the 17th, she held on to win over Lilia Vu, Jin Young Ko and Yamashita.

Yang has recorded a massive 21 top tens in her previous 74 major appearances including twice runner-up but despite a game and demeanor seemingly perfect for major championship golf, she has been unable to break through – until today that is.

“Sorry, I’m lost for the words right now,” said Yang on the 18th green. “It’s all the hard work our team did together, and I’m so grateful for that. All four rounds it was tough out there, but I just trusted what I prepared and just I did my best all week.

“I always wanted to win a major. I came close several times, and I started doubting myself if I ever going to win a major before I retire because I’ve been on tour quite a while. I am so grateful and very, very like, happy to win a major.

“I was so nervous beginning of the day, even night before, and I told Jan (caddie) on the 18th fairway, this has been the longest 18 holes I ever played in my career. I was that much stressed and felt pressure out there. But I think I managed to stay well and stay positive, and of course with him as well he makes things light out there.”

Another benefit of her win was that she will now represent South Korea at the Olympics but was not aware of it immediately.

“I wasn’t aware of it. I really wanted it represent South Korea. That was one of my biggest goals for this year. Missing cuts past few tournaments and I saw my world ranking went down so I wasn’t sure if this winning was enough to make the team. But I made it, so I’m very grateful for that.”

Yang attended Robina State High School on the Gold Coast in Australia in her teens, participated in their golf program there, and was one of the more dominant amateurs during those years, winning the Queensland Amateur and New Zealand Amateur titles.

But it would be her win at the 2006 Australian Ladies Masters as an amateur after receiving an invite from tournament promoter Bob Tuohy that would expedite her arrival into the professional ranks.

The event was a Ladies European Tour event and gave Yang status on that tour and she played there for two years, winning twice before finally securing her full playing rights to the LPGA Tour where she has been ever since.

There had been five LPGA Tour victories prior to today, the biggest coming late in 2023 when winning the CME Tour Championship but this win takes her into a different league as a major winner and might well open the door for more to come.

The Australasians in the field were headed by Hannah Green and Minjee Lee who tied for 24th, Lydia Ko and Gabi Ruffels were 46th, Stephanie Kyriacou was 52nd and Grace Kim 58th.