The winning time also turns out to be the personal best for Coburn, whose previous career mark was 9:07.63 set last summer at Rio Olympics.
Jepkemoi finished ahead of Chepkoech who recovered impressively from a weird mishap on the first lap when she forgot to take the water jump and had to go back round to complete it before catching up with the field.
Having competed at numerous major events throughout her time on the track, she really should have known better. Coburn went into the championships as the fifth fastest in the world this year.
When it came to crunch time, however, the Kenyan-born athlete slowed and was dropped by the leaders. She sealed her victory with a surge after the final water barrier. She just 24 years old, won an NCAA title in 2016 as a member of the New Mexico Lobos and the qualified for the Olympics, where she finished 11th in the final.
"If I can't have the gold medal it's lovely to see girls I raced in college get it because I do believe I can be that good", the 28-year-old said.
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"I have memories from 2015 and 2016 where I went too early for the last push, so I just had to keep trusting myself and be patient, and it looks like it paid off".
"It is pretty unbelievable to get a Championship record". I didn't expect a medal at halfway. We just wanted to show the American women are stepping up over the discipline as well.
Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas settled for the bronze, crossing in 22.15. Though, she did fade prior to the final water jump allowing Coburn and fellow American Courtney Frerichs to take gold and silver respectively. She ran an awesome race to get the championship record.
African runners had claimed gold and silver in the women's steeplechase at each of the past three world championships.
Miller-Uibo was 0.07 seconds adrift in third place, her bronze medal - her first over this distance at either the Olympic Games or World Championships - offering some consolation from a hard Championships.