Crooked four times on a disastrous front-nine, Chun admitted that the pressure of competing for her first major in six years got to her.
“I want to tell the truth, I couldn’t control all my pressure,” she told reporters.
“I believe if I stick to my game plan and then I have a shot at the back nine, so I’m trying to stick to that.”
And she persevered as Chun rallied with five pairs and a crucial birdie on the 16th through the last six holes to finish three-over for the day and five-under overall.
Championing the US Women’s Open in 2015 and the Evian Championship a year later, the win marks the end of a four-year winless run for Chun, whose final LPGA Tour win came at the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship in October 2018.
It also sees her claim $1.35 million off a women’s PGA Championship record $9 million, with the prize pool doubling from last year’s event.
‘I’ve always said my depression is getting better’
In an emotional press conference, Chun looked back on the culmination of a difficult four-year journey she said she’d had with calls from some to retire.
“When I had a breakdown, some people were like, ‘In-gosh, you need to retire because your game isn’t up to scratch right now,’” she said.
“But whatever they said, I believe I can win again. I’m so proud now.”
Speaking to her older sister last week, Chun admitted that, struggling to “see the target”, she was considering leaving the US. But when her sibling advised her to stop playing golf to prioritize herself, Chun realized she wasn’t ready to run away just yet.
“I think this win feels really special because I’ve always said my depression is getting better,” Chun said.
“I really cried [talking to her sister] … When I heard what she said, I believe I still have a mind, still want to play golf.
“I’m just so happy to win after everything that’s happened. I just want to keep saying, ‘I’m so proud of myself.’
“That’s why I want to thank everyone who believed in me and never gave up on me.”
US Open champion Lee, who narrowly missed a second major in the same month, believes the win will give Chun “a huge confidence boost.”
“I think she went through some hardships here and there,” Lee told reporters.
“So I think she’s going to be really, really happy and just thankful for everyone around her.”