Lilia Vu won her fifth LPGA Tour event on Sunday, taking home the Meijer LPGA Classic title in her first tournament appearance since March. 

The World No. 2 had been sidelined with a back injury, but returned with a vengeance last weekend. She began the final day eight shots back of leader Grace Kim, before surviving a three-hole playoff against Kim and former champion Lexi Thompson to take the title. 

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"I think this is the most meaningful win," Vu told reporters. "Because there was a time two months ago where I was just crying on the range not being sure if I would ever play a tournament again without pain."

This was Vu's first Meijer LPGA Classic win, and a birdie on the third playoff hole helped secure it. A two-time major champion, she's now two for three in LPGA Tour playoffs. 

She said on Sunday that being unable to defend her title at the Chevron Championship was the "breaking point" in her season.

"Not being able to compete there really killed me," she said. "I feel like I thought I was taking the steps in the right direction, but I’m glad that I was able to take a couple months off and reevaluate my body, let it recover, do what I needed to do to get back out here again.

"And we did the right thing and took two months off. I think it hurt me not to play competitive golf because I literally live for competitive golf, but we did the right thing and that’s why I’m here today."

Vu walked away with $450,000 in prize money from the $3 million overall purse.

LPGA tour standouts Nelly Korda and Lexi Thompson missed the cut at the US Women’s Open this past weekend as World No. 6 golfer Yuka Saso picked up her second title at the major.

After posting a first-round 80 — which included a 10 on a par-3 — Korda followed it up with a 70 on the second day. The back-to-back disappointments ended the chances for the World No. 1, who had been an overwhelming favorite going into the tournament. 

"I knew it was going to be a tough day," Korda told reporters afterwards. "Try to give it my all, you know that’s what I try to do with every round. I had nothing to lose, and that was my mentality — just kind of go for it."

Joining Korda in missing the cut was longtime US front-runner Lexi Thompson. Thompson was competing in her 18th consecutive US Women’s Open, announcing beforehand that this would be her final season competing professionally.

"Minus the golf, it was amazing," Thompson said of her recent US Women's Open performance. "It wasn’t the golf that I wanted to play, obviously… to see all the fans out there, just to hear their chants, made me smile, every single shot even though I kept on bogeying."

"It’s meant the world to me," she added. "I’m so blessed and grateful for the family that I have… Going into the week I knew it was going to be a big week. To have my family and friends and the amount of fans that were out there this week, that’s what we want."

Fellow American Rose Zhang, ranked No. 6 in the world, was another big name on the cut list. 

For Saso, however, the week was a banner one. At just 22 years old, the Philippine-born Japan national is a two-time major champion, winning both titles at the US Women’s Open. She’s the youngest two-time champion in the event's history.

"I definitely had a little doubt if I can win again," she told reporters following the victory. "It just makes it special because after a long wait — I wasn't expecting to win the US Women's Open. Every time, last time, too, I wasn't expecting it, and this time, too, I wasn't expecting it."

In Gee Chun held on to take home the title Sunday, recovering from a bogey-filled start to clinch the win at the Women’s PGA Championship.

The South Korean shot a 3-over 75 on the day but still managed to claim a one-shot victory over Lexi Thompson and Minjee Lee. Thompson’s putting woes caused her to squander a two-stroke lead on the front nine, allowing Chun to make a comeback.

Chun led by seven strokes after the tournament’s first round, then five after the second day, giving her padding down the stretch at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md.

The 27-year-old finished at 5-under 283 for her third major title, following up her U.S. Women’s Open win in 2015 and her 2016 Evian Championship title in France.

Welcome to the third edition of the Just Women’s Sports LPGA power rankings, just in time for major season on tour. The LPGA will host two of its five major championships over the next four weeks, with the U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles teeing off this Thursday and the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship beginning June 23 at Congressional Golf Club.

Three new players have entered the top 10 since the last time we released our power rankings, with a new face taking over the No. 2 slot to challenge No. 1. Let’s run down the list.

1. Jin Young Ko

A second-place finish at Rancho Palos Verdes secured Ko’s spot atop the JWS power rankings, which she’s held all season long. After a strong start to the year, Ko is entering arguably the most important month of the year for her long-term goal of securing the career grand slam, which involves winning every single major at least once. Ko knocked two of the five off her list in 2019, with victories at the ANA Inspiration (now Chevron Championship) and Evian Championship.

For Ko to find the winner’s circle at one of the upcoming majors, she needs to get back to hitting greens more regularly. The 13-time LPGA winner has found 73.6 percent of greens in regulation in 2022, 3.8 percent less than her career average of 77.4. Last year, the 26-year-old hit 78.8 percent of greens in regulation during her five-win season.

Starts: 6
Wins: 1
Top-10s: 3
Notable Finishes: Win at HSBC Women’s Championship, Runner-Up Palos Verdes Championship, T-4 JTBC Classic
Last Month: 1st

2. Minjee Lee

The Australian went from trending to winning. The LPGA’s leader in strokes gained from tee to green took home the Cognizant Founders Cup and acknowledged how well she’s been striking the golf ball this season.

“I just feel like I’ve kind of been trending,” Lee said after her victory in New Jersey. “I’ve been hitting it really, really well this whole season, and I just felt like it was kind of around the corner. I kept knocking on the door, and here I am now. I finished with a win this week.”

The LPGA began measuring strokes gained in 2021, seven years after the PGA Tour first started using it. It measures how well a player executes each shot they hit relative to the field’s average outcome from a given distance. For example, if on average the field takes three strokes to get to the hole from 160 yards, and a player gets there in two, they gained a stroke on the field from that distance.

Lee has gained 96.9 total strokes from tee to green this year in 28 rounds, ahead of In Gee Chun with 69.4 in 33 rounds. As a result, the seven-time tour winner leads the LPGA in scoring average (68.89), just ahead of Lexi Thompson at 69.26. If Lee can win two of the last four majors, she would be the first to do so since Ko in 2019.

Starts: 8
Wins: 1
Top-10s: 3
Notable Finishes: Win at Founders Cup, T-2 HSBC Women’s Championship, T-3 DIO Implant Open
Last Month: 10th

3. Lydia Ko

Consistency remains the theme for Ko in 2022. She still hasn’t finished outside of the top 25, adding a top-3 finish at Palos Verdes, and her putter has been one of the biggest reasons why.

Ko is averaging the lowest putts per round (28.25) of her nine-year career, 0.06 better than her 2016 campaign when she was world No. 1 and won four times, including a major at the ANA Inspiration. This season, she’s tied for her second-best putts per green in regulation average (1.72), trailing only her 2016 performance (1.71).

The 17-time tour champion will look to win her first major title since her 2016 ANA Inspiration victory over the next month and solidify her return as one of the game’s greats. Only 28 other players have won three or more majors in the tour’s history, putting Ko firmly on the path to the LPGA Hall of Fame.

Starts: 8
Wins: 1
Top-10s: 3
Notable Finishes: Win at Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio, T-3 Palos Verdes Championship
Last Month: 2nd

4. Atthaya Thitikul

The rookie notched another top-10 finish at the Cognizant Founders Cup, helping her maintain a 50 percent top-10 rate over 10 starts. Thitikul is tied for the most top-10s on tour with five alongside Celine Boutier. She also leads the LPGA with 172 birdies; Boutier is second with 162.

The Thai star holds a 160-point advantage in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year race, with her 568 points leading Hye-Jin Choi’s 408. The 19-year-old has an opportunity to separate herself even further and prove she’s poised enough to handle the high-pressure major tournaments. She finished fifth at the Amundi Evian Championship last season and posted a T-17 at the Chevron Championship this year. This week, she’ll make her first career start at the U.S. Women’s Open.

Starts: 10
Wins: 1
Top-10s: 5
Best Finish: Win at JTBC Classic, T-4 HSBC Women’s World Championship, T-6 Lotte Championship
Last Month: 4th

5. Lexi Thompson

Thompson has surged to fifth after not being ranked in our last edition, largely because she’s been making more starts. She’d teed it up only four times through the Lotte Championship ahead of our last rankings. Two starts later, she’s added a T-13 finish and her second runner-up finish of the season at the Cognizant Founders Cup. She leads the LPGA in strokes gained per round and greens in regulation (76.8 percent).

“I think as athletes we just want to see our hard work pay off,” Thompson said at the end of the Cognizant Founders Cup. “And when I’m home, I’m doing two workouts a day. I’m putting five to six hours out on the golf course, and just to see it pay off means the world to me. I’m going to continue to work my butt off and hopefully see the results.”

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All eyes will be on Lexi Thompson at the U.S. Open last week after last year's collapse. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Thompson will look to ride the momentum and avenge her collapse at last year’s U.S. Open, when she lost a five-shot lead on the back nine. The 27-year-old, in her 15th start at the major, shot a 75 in the final round at Olympic Club, including a five-over par 41 on the back nine. Now, she returns to Pine Needles, where she made her U.S. Open debut at the age of 12. Her next win will be her first since the 2019 Shoprite LPGA Classic.

Starts: 6
Wins: 0
Top-10s: 4
Notable Finishes: Runner Up at Cognizant Founder’s Cup, Runner Up at LPGA Drive On Crown Colony, T-4 Chevron Championship
Last Month: Not Ranked

6. Hyo Joo Kim

Kim’s case for the power rankings is a complicated one, as she hasn’t made a start on the LPGA Tour since her win in Hawaii. That victory launched her to third in the power rankings. The South Korean did finish fourth in the KLPGA’s CreaS F&C The 44TH KLPGA Championship, has no bearing on her spot in these rankings.

Like Thompson, if Kim plays a few more events at the same level, she can quickly reclaim her previous spot.

Starts: 5
Wins: 1
Top-10s: 3
Notable Finishes: Victory at the Lotte Championship, T-6 Honda LPGA Thailand, T-8 Chevron Championship
Last Month: 3rd

7. Nasa Hataoka

The Japanese star’s best two finishes this season have been in her last two starts, with her victory at Wilshire Country Club followed by a T-6 finish in New Jersey. Hataoka rolls into the U.S. Open with momentum after she lost to Yuka Saso in a playoff at Olympic Club last year, the second major playoff loss of her career. The first came when Sung Hyun Park defeated her and So Yeon Ryu at Kemper Lakes Golf Club in the 2018 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

Hataoka is tied with Jessica Korda for a label no player wants to hold onto for long: most victories on tour without a major. Perhaps a good sign for the two of them, two others have gotten over the hump in recent years. First, Sei Young Kim won the 2020 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, and then Minjee Lee added a major to her resume at the Amundi Evian Championship last year.

Starts: 10
Wins: 1
Top-10s: 2
Best Finish: Win at DIO Implant LA Open, T-6 Cognizant Founder’s Cup
Last Month: 6th

8. Marina Alex

The 31-year-old acknowledged after her victory at Rancho Palos Verdes — the second of her 10-year LPGA career — that she had been close to walking away from the game.

“If you had talked to me last year or the beginning of even this year, I didn’t think it was even a remote possibility that I was going to win ever again,” she said. “I didn’t know how much longer I really wanted to be golfing ever again.”

Instead, Alex overcame the No. 1 and No. 3 player in these power rankings for her first win in four years. She started working with a new swing coach last May in Claude Harmon, and the results have paid off this season. Her three top-10 finishes this year match her total from the 2020 and 2021 seasons combined.

Starts: 9
Wins: 1
Top-10s: 3
Notable Finishes: Win at Palos Verdes Championship, T-6 Honda LPGA Thailand
Last Month: Not Ranked

9. Jennifer Kupcho

Kupcho’s leap into Poppie’s Pond has kept her in the lead in the races for Rolex Player of the Year and the Rolex Annika Major Award. The 2021 Solheim Cup breakout star sits in third place in the 2023 US Solheim Cup points leaderboard, behind Lexi Thompson and Danielle Kang. Kupcho has posted three top-20 finishes since her victory at the Chevron Championship.

The lone major champion of 2022 aims to become the first player on the LPGA Tour to win back-to-back majors since Inbee Park won three in a row to start the 2013 season.

Starts: 10
Wins: 1
Top-10s: 2
Notable Finishes: Win at Chevron Championship, T-6 Honda LPGA Thailand
Last Month: 7th

10. Madelene Sagstrom

The Swede has racked up four consecutive top-10 finishes following a T-13 at the Chevron Championship. Three of the four have been top-5 finishes. She’s credited her run, in part, to “The Chimp Paradox,” a book by Steve Peters that’s helped her tune out the voice in the back of her head telling her she’s doing something wrong.

Sagstrom is 26th in the latest Rolex World Rankings, the best rank of her career after starting the 2022 season at 43rd. For the first time in Sagstrom’s six-year LPGA career, she has strung together consecutive top-10s finishes, let alone four in a row.

Starts: 11
Wins: 0
Top-10s: 4
Notable Finishes: T-3 DIO Implant LA Open, T-3 Cognizant Founders Cup, T-5 Bank of Hope LPGA Match Play
Last Month: Not Ranked

Kent Paisley is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports covering golf and the LPGA. He also contributes to Golf Digest. Follow him on Twitter @KentPaisley.

Minjee Lee shot a 2-under 70 in Sunday’s final round at Upper Montclair Country Club in New Jersey to hold off Lexi Thompson for the Founders Cup title.

The Australian struggled Sunday, making only three birdies on the back nine to post her only round not in the 60s for the tournament.

Still, Lee finished the tournament with a 19-under 269 overall. She secured the win with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 14th hole.

“I’ve been hitting it really, really well this whole…I mean, this whole season, and I just felt like it was kind of around the corner. I kept knocking on the door, and here I am now,” Lee said.

Thompson finished two shots behind Lee after firing six straight pars to finish the round with a 69. Sunday marked Thompson’s second runner-up in six events this season.

Lee’s victory is her seventh career title and first this year.

OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. — Team golf is taking over New York, with the Aramco Team Series teeing off at Glen Oaks Club on Long Island on Thursday. The 54-hole contest, introduced to the Ladies European Tour for the first time this year, is part of a four-leg format, held in London, Spain, New York, and Jeddah.

Twenty eight teams of four, made up of three pros and one amateur, will face off in the three-day event, competing with a $1 million purse and world ranking points on the line.

Lovingly referred to as the Augusta of the north, Glen Oaks is popular among the golfers, even among those who have never played it before.

“I’ve never been out here but I’ve heard nothing but great things about it. I got to play about 14 holes and it’s in perfect shape,” said Lexi Thompson, adding, “it will all come down to the greens.”

Teams were picked in a unique “NFL-style” draft on Tuesday evening, with captains selecting their first teammate, and the third pro and amateur filled in at random.

Most pros cited their caddy’s research as the reasoning behind the selections, but the choice came down to an in-the-moment decision for others.

With the first pick of the draw, Jessica Korda felt the pressure.

“I’ve known of her for a long time, I didn’t expect to go first, I froze,” said Korda of her choice, Karolin Lampert, adding, “I saw her name and went for it — gut feeling.”

The Aramco series marks team golf’s return to American soil after September’s dramatic Solheim Cup. Catriona Matthew, who captained a victorious European squad, says the team format is central to growing the game.

“I think it’s great for the game of golf,” said Matthew of the Aramco Series, adding, “the fans love seeing team golf and obviously this format where you’re playing with an amateur or other events when men and women play side by side is great fun to have throughout the season.”

Thompson agreed, maintaining that the innovative setup helps the game.

“I think us as athletes, we just want to see the game grow, and I think ideas like this that aren’t just cookie-cutter 72-hole events really brings in new ideas for golf and grows the game.”

Progression of the game, specifically of the women’s Tour, is all part of the tournament’s “Driving Force” initiative, which includes supporting the Girls on the Green Tee charity, which focuses on introducing young girls to the sport.  According to the golfers, the tournament itself, and its partnership with Aramco, is a powerful move for the Tour.

“I always say, ever since I turned pro in 2010, we’ve gained more partnership and sponsors, more events, and more prize money. It really just helps out the game in general but especially on the women’s side, I think we’re on the upward rise of things and we want to continue that with the players out here,” said Thompson, “We want to leave the game in a better place than it was when we first got out there.”

Watch out for American Solheim stars Nelly Korda, Lizette Salas, Danielle Kang to make a run at the win with their teams, while European winner Anna Nordqvist teams up with two-team partner Linda Wessberg in her chase for the trophy.

Play begins on Thursday at 7:15 a.m. ET at the Glen Oaks Club on Long Island. The event is being streamed on The Golf Channel.

Clare Brennan is an Associate Editor at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @clare_brennan2.

Lexi Thompson has taken the lead at The Olympic Club heading into the final day of the U.S. Open.

The American recorded the first bogey-free round of the tournament Saturday, helping her surge out in front of Yuka Saso.

Thompson leads the pack going into Sunday at 7-under. Saso is just one stroke off, and Megha Ganne and Jeongeun Lee are close behind at 3-under.

Thompson will look to capture her first U.S. Open title on Sunday.