Lilia Vu carded the lowest final round score of 5–under, –14 total, to win by 6 strokes in the final major of the year at the AIG Women’s Open in Surrey, England on Aug. 13, elevating to the Rolex Women's World No. 1 ranked player.
The Southern California native from Fountain Valley in Orange County, California, won her first LPGA tournament at the Honda LPGA Thailand in February—and now has bagged her third victory of the year, including a second major at the Chevron Championship.
"It sounds almost unreal. I had a pretty tough run the past couple months [since winning Chevron]," said Vu, having missed four of six cuts. "I didn't even feel like myself for the past couple of months. [Coming] into this tournament. I sat down with my team and we just wanted to be in contention."
Vu now leads the Rolex Player of the Year standings with 154 points; she is second on both the Race to the CME Globe with 2,068.618 points and the Official Money List with $2,519,386.
Following the Chevron Championship, "just how I felt afterwards and just honestly thinking that those two wins were a fluke and just to be here today, I can't thank my team and my family enough for really believing in me, and it was just really hard," Vu said.
"It just comes down to not thinking about winning, just playing one shot at a time. I mean, this golf course really forces you to do that. It really tests you," added Vu." So that was my only goal just to drive the ball well and just give myself chances for birdie."
Vu was tied with local favorite Charley Hull, who grew up 30 minutes away, at the beginning of the final round but pulled away early with birdies on the par-4 No. 2 and the par-3 No. 9 holes.
Hull would bogey holes No. 3–4 to fall four strokes behind after the front nine. The crowd came to a roar with hope following Hull's greenside bunker shot that rolled in for an eagle on the par-5 No. 11.
Hull wasn't able to get any closer with bogeys on Nos. 15 and 17. Protesters disrupted play on the 17th green with canisters filled with colored spray before being escorted away.
“It’s just annoying because this is my fourth second-place finish of the year and second second-place finish in a major,” said Hull. “But I really feel like next year will be my time for me.”
Vu pulled away on the back nine with birdies on holes Nos. 10, 12, 16, and 18—with her only bogey of the day on the par-4 15th.
"This has been the best crowd (that) I've ever played in my life," said Vu. "I will remember this moment for the rest of my life ... (the crowd) has been so great—I know they're rooting for Charley, but they clap for me too which is amazing."
J. Yai Shin finished third at 7–under—while two other S. Korean compatriots, H. Joo Kim and Amy Yang, tied for fourth.
Three Americans tied for sixth: Allisen Corpuz, Angel Yin, and 36-hole leader Ally Ewing.
Other American notables include former World Rolex No. 1 Nelly Korda who tied with Alison Lee of Los Angeles, for 11th at –2; while Andrea Lee from the South Bay in Los Angeles finished at 3–under.
In 2019, Vu made just one cut in nine LPGA tournaments a rookie. She considered quitting and eventually regained full status for the 2022 season though the Epson Tour while earning Player of the Year honors.
Vu's message to children with aspirations of playing professional golf is "just keep believing. Write down your goals, have the best people around you to help you reach that goal, and just never give up."
Vu spent most of her young amateur career practicing at Baker G.C. at Mile Square Park under the guidance of her father—who learned golf through reading books to coach Vu and her older brother.
In 2016 at UCLA, Vu was awarded the PAC-12 Freshman of the Year, and WGCA Player of the Year—eventually becoming a three-time All-American, while winning eight individual titles for the Bruin record.
Vu also represented the U.S. at the 2018 Curtis Cup, Arnold Palmer Cup, and won the Espírito Santo Trophy—holding the No. 1 World Amateur Golf Ranking for a record of 31 weeks in 2018–2019.