Kim missed, giving Jutanugarn her second major title, and her first since her three-shot win at the Women's British Open two years ago.
What might have been the most hard day of the 22-year-old's career ended with her winning Sunday's playoff against Hyo-Joo Kim and walking away $900,000 richer with a second major title.
Kim only needed to match Jutanugarn's score at the 18th but committed a bogey after finding a bunker with her second shot, while Jutanugarn made par to extend the playoff.
She joins Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb, Se Ri Pak and Inbee Park as the only players to win both the U.S. women's Open and the British Open.
It took four playoff holes for Jutanugarn, known as "May", to finally shake Hyo-Joo Kim, a former major victor who hadn't played like one lately until Shoal Creek. The second round will be completed Saturday with the low 60 scorers plus ties making the cut. She made putt after putt to put pressure on Jutanugarn, including a 50-footer on 15 that pulled her within one shot of the lead. "I don't know why".
"I could see she was getting in that mode where she was starting to think about what could happen", Luark said.
"It ended up pretty good, so I'm okay now", she said of the challenging week. She still had a two-shot lead with two holes remaining, but closed with back-to-back bogeys to fall into a playoff after shooting 73.
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It is golf's cruellest facet that marquee tournaments are often defined by a player who did not win rather than the one who did.
"It did not really enter my mind at the start of the day that I was going to come that close, so I just focused on playing my game", said Kim.
Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn is second after a 70.
"After you have seven-shot lead and end up in playoff, I had no expectation because I kind of got mad a little bit with my back nine".
Ariya, who has won eight LPGA events in the past two years, was far from ideal early on but kept her card clean with a 6-foot par-saving putt at the par-3 fifth, where barely 100 spectators had made the long trek out to the furthest point from the clubhouse on a hot and steamy day. "I didn't sleep much last night and I'm really exhausted". Both found bunkers with their second shots - Kim short of the green and Jutanugarn just to the right - and the South Korean finally blinked.
Joaquin Niemann, the 19-year-old from Chile, birdied the 18th hole to tie for sixth.
"I've kind of been playing a little bit better since San Francisco so it's just been like gradually a little bit getting better", said Oh who finished 4th at her last start in MI. She nabbed two more birdies before the turn and another at the par-five third before her only bogey of the day, a three-putt at eight.