In a year chock full of first-time winners on the LPGA Tour, there were also several veterans who returned to the winner’s circle. Here are some of the most memorable bounce-backs in 2022 by players who hoisted trophies for the first time in years.
Just as quickly as Hull gets around a golf course, she found success on the LPGA Tour. In her rookie debut in 2015, Hull finished in the top 10 and added two more before season’s end. She wasted no time getting her first win, claiming the CME Group Tour Championship in her second season. Not one who likes to wait, Hull had her patience tested as it would be another six years before she’d win again on the LPGA. The drought came to an end in October, when some extra time she put in on her putting paid off in a big way at The Ascendant LPGA. Hull fired a final-round 64 to win by one stroke ahead of Xiyu Lin.
Salas made a steady transition from the amateur ranks at the University of Southern California to the LPGA Tour. After recording one top-10 in her rookie season of 2012, she followed with seven more in ‘13. Victory then came as no surprise when Salas earned her breakthrough triumph at the 2014 Kingsmill Championship. But what did come as a surprise was the drought that followed. While she became a point-earning machine for the Americans at the Solheim Cup, playing well enough to appear on five U.S. teams thus far, an second LPGA victory was still missing. Until this year. Playing alongside Solheim Cup teammate Jennifer Kupcho, the duo won the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, the tour’s only official team event. It also counted as an individual victory for both players, giving Salas that long awaited second trophy.
In Gee Chun
Chun bagged a pair of major victories in 2015 and ’16, for her first two LPGA titles. She cruised to her first major win at the U.S. Women’s Open, where she didn’t speak any English. A year later, she captured the Amundi Evian Championship, where she spent the night before the final round rehearsing her winner’s speech in perfect English. But it would be two more years before Chun would win again and not until 2022 that she’d win another major. A back injury, compounded by a bout with depression, quickly grounded Chun, who considered walking away from the game prior to this year’s KPMG Women’s PGA. But she recommitted herself to the game and found glory once more, this time at Congressional for major No. 3. She nearly won No. 4 at the AIG Women’s Open, where she fell in a playoff to Ashleigh Buhai.
Five years after joining the LPGA Tour, Alex proved victorious for the first time at the 2018 AmazingCre Portland Classic. When a back injury sidelined her for much of 2020, Alex wondered whether her mind and body would be capable of lifting her into the winner’s circle again. Thanks to her work with Claude Harmon III, Alex took her game to a new level in ‘22 and that was never more evident than in the final-round 66 she carded at the Palos Verdes Championship in May to hold off the then world No. 1 Jin Young Ko to win for the second time on Tour and first time in three years.