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Korea's Ji wins U.S. Open in last-hole drama

  • Story Highlights
  • Eun Hee Ji snatches U.S. Women's Open with last-hole birdie
  • South Korean finishes one shot ahead of Taiwan's Candie Kung
  • Ji is 10th first time major winner in the last 11 majors on LPGA Tour
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(CNN) -- South Korea's Eun Hee Ji rolled home a 15-foot birdie putt on the final hole to snatch the first U.S. Open at Saucon Valley Country Club in Pennsylvania.

Ji kept her cool on the back nine to win her first major title.

Ji kept her cool on the back nine to win her first major title.

Ji, who was claiming her first major title, finished one shot clear of Taiwan's Candie Kung after carding a final round 71 to finish on level par 281.

Kung, who closed with a fine two-under 69, came from five shots back to set the clubhouse pace, but could only watch on as Ji took her chance with a run of three birdies in the last six holes.

"Right before hitting the putt, I was nervous to the point where my hands were shaking, but I told myself to just make sure I saved par," Ji told the official LPGA Tour Web site

Her victory marks the 10th first time winner in the past 11 majors and she is the fourth South Korean to win the U.S. Open as the balance of power in women's golf shifts towards Asia.

Ji was paired with the main home hope for victory, overnight leader Cristie Kerr, who was unable to repeat her 2007 U.S Open triumph as she slumped to a four-over 75.

Kerr, who started the final round two shots ahead, lost the lead when she bogeyed the 13th and her hopes were effectively ended when she missed a short par putt on the 16th to slip to two-over-par.

Kerr finished in a tie for third with In-Kyung Kim.

Fellow American Brittany Lincicome was fifth on 287, one stroke ahead of compatriot Paula Creamer, Norway's Suzann Pettersen and Japan's Ai Miyazato.

Ji's second LPGA Tour victory saw her pocket a check for $585,000 and wins her a 10-year exemption to the U.S. Open plus a place in the Samsung World Championship.

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