THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Monday, August 6, 2018
LYTHAM ST ANNES, ENGLAND -- Named in honour of a famous Masters victory, Georgia Hall has her hands on one of the big trophies in women's golf at the age of 22.
The Englishwoman reeled in long-time leader Pornanong Phatlum in a gripping final-round duel at Royal Lytham to win the Women's British Open for her first major title on Sunday.
Hull tapped in for a bogey - her first of the day - at the last hole to clinch a two-shot victory over Pornanong. Hall then hugged her playing partner from Thailand before being lifted off her feet by her caddie, father Wayne.
It was fitting that Wayne, a former two-handicapper himself, was on the bag to experience the biggest moment of his daughter's career.
Georgia was born during the 1996 Masters won by English golfer Nick Faldo at Augusta, Ga. She was named in honour of that victory, which came after Faldo overcame a six-stroke deficit to Greg Norman in the final round.
Twenty-two years later, Hall is the pride of English golf, just as Faldo was. And the way Hall kept her composure and kept producing the shots of her life down the stretch, there might be more major titles to come.
Her round of five-under 67, which included six birdies, saw her finish at 17-under 271.
Hall, who receives a cheque of US$490,000, became the first English major winner since Karen Stupples won this event in 2004, and the fourth over all along with Laura Davies and Alison Nicholas.
She followed Stupples and Catriona Matthew - in 2009 at Lytham - as the only British winners of the Women's British Open since it achieved major status in 2001.
Brooke Henderson (74) of Smiths Falls, Ont., tied for 11th at six under par. She had three birdies and three bogeys offset each other, but a double bogey on the par-four 17th hole put her at two over for the round.
Roared on under blue skies by the large gallery desperate for a home winner, the 39th-ranked Hall started the day a shot behind Pornanong, who led after the second and third rounds.
Hall was always chasing, but was given hope when Pornanong bogeyed No. 8 to reduce her lead to one shot. Then, when Hall rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt at No.
13, they were tied for the first time since the first hole.
Hall took the outright lead for the first time in the tournament after a 20-foot putt for birdie at the 16th hole and went down the last with a three-shot lead after Pornanong, ranked No. 97 and also seeking her first major and LPGA title, missed a two-foot putt to make double-bogey at No. 17.
Hall played safe in three-putting from distance in front of Royal Lytham's storied clubhouse and celebrated her first win on the LPGA Tour. She had never won on the Ladies European Tour, either.
"It is too good to be true," Hall said. "It was my goal when I was nine to win the British Open. I am so happy.
Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., watches her putt during the final round of the Women's British Open on Sunday. She finished in a four-way tie for 11th.
JASON CAIRNDUFF/ACTION IMAGES VIA REUTERS