Lilia Vu comes back from injury to beat Lexi Thompson, Grace Kim in playoff

Lilia Vu comes back from injury to beat Lexi Thompson, Grace Kim in playoff
Lilia Vu returned to the Meijer LPGA Classic in her first start since March, and it felt like the 2023 Player of the Year never left. Vu delivered a closing seven-under 65 on Sunday at Blythefield Country Club in Belmont, Mich., playing her way into a three-way playoff between herself, Grace Kim, and Lexi Thompson. Here’s how the No. 2 player in the Rolex Rankings came from eight shots behind to win after three extra holes for her fifth career title. Vu, winner of two majors last year, has seen this season so far defined chiefly by her absence. She withdrew from two events in Southeast Asia in February, played the first two domestic contests in March, and then missed the tour’s last seven tournaments due to a back injury. That included not defending her Chevron Championship title in April. Vu’s low point came a couple of months ago when she cried on the range in frustration because her body was not letting her compete.

“I think the breaking point, the tipping point was [missing] Chevron,” Vu said. “Not being able to compete there really killed me. 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 of months off and reevaluate my body, let it recover, do what I needed to do to get back out here again.”

In slowly building her body back up, the Fountain Valley, Calif., native had not played 18 holes since the Ford Championship in late March. The two-time major champion reasserts herself with the victory before the LPGA’s next pair of majors. The 26-year-old notched the fourth come-from-behind win of her career and overcame the largest deficit to win on tour this season, besting Linnea Strom’s 60 to come from seven back at the Shoprite LPGA Classic last week.

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