(Reuters) – Georgia Hall became the fourth Englishwoman major champion when she carded a closing five-under-par 67 to clinch victory at the Ricoh Women’s British Open in Lancashire on Sunday.
Golf – Women’s British Open – Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club, Lytham Saint Annes, Britain – August 5, 2018 England’s Georgia Hall celebrates winning the Women’s British Open with the trophy Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
She stamped her authority with three birdies in a four-hole stretch to beat Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum by two strokes at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.
Cheered on by a large gallery, Hall finished at 17-under 271, becoming the second English player to win the championship after Karen Stupples in 2004.
“I’ve always joked by saying I haven’t really won since turning pro and a major will be my first win and I can’t believe it’s actually true,” the 22-year-old Hall told Golf Channel.
“I told myself just to stay calm the whole way and not think about anything. I thought I’ll cry but I think that’s going to happen in another couple of hours. Hopefully I’ll be alone then.”
Hall joined Laura Davies (four), Alison Nicholas and Stupples as women’s major winners from England.
She became the first English player of either sex to win a major at Royal Lytham since Tony Jacklin won the 1969 British Open.
The final round quickly turned into a head-to-head duel between Hall and overnight lead Phatlum, after South Korean Ryu So-yeon triple-bogeyed the third hole.
Hall tied for the lead with a 10-foot birdie at the 13th hole, before she and Phatlum both birdied the par-five 15th to remain locked together.
Hall added another birdie at the par-four 16th to take sole possession of the lead, before going three shots ahead when Phatlum double-bogeyed the 17th after driving into a fairway bunker.
The large lead allowed Hall to enjoy the rousing reception she received on her victory march up to the final hole, where a three-putt bogey was academic.
“I was lucky to hold the golf club,” she said of her nerves at the last.
“I played really well today and putted so good, so I’m over the moon.”
Phatlum, seeking to join compatriot Ariya Jutanugarn (U.S. Women’s Open) as a major champion this year, hit a series of loose drives down the stretch.
But a 70 earned her second place on 15 under, with Ryu (70) another two shots back in third.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Ken Ferris and Clare Fallon