Georgia Hall wins Women's British Open after flawless final round

Georgia Hall, winner of the Women's British Open
Georgia Hall, winner of the Women's British Open

England's Georgia Hall produced a brilliant final round to win her first major title in the Ricoh Women's British Open at Royal Lytham.

Leaderboard

-17 Georgia Hall

-15 Pornanong Phatlum

-13 So Yeon Ryu

Day four report

England's Georgia Hall admitted it felt "too good to be true" after producing a brilliant final round to win her first major title in the Ricoh Women's British Open at Royal Lytham.

Hall, who had never previously tasted victory on the Ladies European Tour or LPGA Tour, carded six birdies in a closing 67 to finish on 17 under par, two shots ahead of Thailand's Pornanong Phatlum.

The 22-year-old from Bournemouth is just the fifth British winner of a major and only the third home winner of this event since it achieved that status in 2001, following in the footsteps of Karen Stupples (2004) and Catriona Matthew (2009).

And fittingly she did so with her father Wayne acting as her caddie, the former two-handicapper having named his daughter in honour of Nick Faldo's Masters triumph in Augusta, Georgia, in 1996.

Hall also fought back tears at the presentation ceremony as she dedicated the victory to her grandfather, saying: "There's someone very special at home that's going through a bad time so this is for you Grandad."

Phatlum began the day with a one-shot lead over Hall and made a brilliant start with four birdies in the first six holes to double her advantage, even though Hall also birdied the first, fourth and sixth.

Georgia Hall and her father celebrate on the final green
Georgia Hall and her father celebrate on the final green

However, an errant drive on the eighth led to a bogey for the 28-year-old and Hall moved into a share of the lead thanks to a birdie from 10 feet on the 13th.

Both players birdied the par-five 15th after Hall's eagle attempt from 15 feet caught the edge of the hole and stayed out, but it did not take long for Hall to get her nose in front thanks to another birdie on the next.

And when Phatlum found sand off the tee on the 17th and compounded the error by three-putting for a double bogey, Hall had the luxury of a three-shot lead and could easily afford her only bogey of the day on the 18th.

"It's too good to be true really," Hall told Sky Sports. "I don't think it's all sunk in for me. It was my goal when I was nine years old on the putting green: 'This six-footer's for the British Open' and to actually have that - and luckily it was just a tap-in - I'm over the moon. I'm so happy.

"I promised myself not to get ahead of myself and feel any emotions, which is sometimes hard because I wanted to take it all in. I was staying very calm and patient and it was very close up to the last two holes and I was just trying to hole the putts.

"So many people were behind me and supporting me. It was so nice to play in England in front of a home crowd."

Hall, who finished third in the British Open last year, added: "Last year was a learning curve for me and I got so much experience in the British Open and the Solheim Cup and I learnt that I can play and compete against the best in the world. I was so confident coming into this event after last year."

Sports Minister Tracey Crouch praised Hall's performance, saying: "Congratulations to Georgia Hall on winning her first major in what was an incredible performance. Her victory is a great boost for women's golf in Britain and I hope there are many more great things to come from her."

Day three report

Georgia Hall is just one shot behind leader Pornanong Phatlum heading into the final round of the Ricoh Women's Open after the pair both shot 69 on Saturday at Royal Lytham.

Hall finally dropped her first shot of the tournament on the 13th, and added another bogey on the 17th, but they came among a three-birdie blitz to add to two on the front nine as she moved to 12-under for the tournament.

That's just one behind Thailand's Phatlum who carded four birdies and just one bogey in her round of 69 to stay at the top of the leaderboard heading into Sunday's final round.

South Korea's So Yeon Ryu recovered from two early bogeys to reel off seven birdies in a brilliant five-under round of 67 to fire herself into contention on 11-under and in third place outright.

Minjee Lee and Mamiko Higa lost ground on the leaders as they both shot 71 to slip into a three-way tie for fourth on 10-under alongside Sung Hyun Park, who matched the top two's rounds of 69.

Day two report

England's Georgia Hall remains firmly in contention to become just the third home winner of the Ricoh Women's British Open since it became a major championship.

Hall has not dropped a shot in the first two days at Royal Lytham, adding a second round of 68 to her opening 67 for a halfway total of nine under par, a shot behind Thailand's Pornanong Phatlum.

Phatlum's second consecutive 67 gave her a slender advantage over Hall, overnight leader Minjee Lee and Japan's Mamiko Higa, who both paid the price for late stumbles in their rounds.

Australian Lee was five under for the day before recording a double bogey on the 16th and dropping another shot on the next, while Higa was also five under before a double bogey on the 17th.

In contrast, Hall returned a clean card featuring 14 pars and birdies on the ninth, 13th, 15th and 16th as she looks to emulate Karen Stupples (2004) and Catriona Matthew (2009) as the only home winners since the event achieved major status in 2001.

"I played the practice rounds and thought 'Wow' this is a very tough golf course so I'm very happy to go bogey-free so far," Hall told Sky Sports. "My course management has been key this week and I managed to hole some good putts so I'm very happy with the round.

"I'm still pretty calm and not really feeling much at the moment, which is good. I don't want to feel anything. So I'm just enjoying it."

Hall has been benefiting from some advice received from former world number one Tom Lehman, who won the 1996 Open Championship at Royal Lytham.

"He advised me just to lay up short of all the bunkers off the tee and play it as a longer golf course, which I don't mind anyway," said the 22-year-old from Bournemouth, whose father Wayne named her in honour of Nick Faldo's 1996 Masters triumph in Georgia and who is her caddie this week.

"I quite like hitting four or five irons into par fours so that's what I'm doing. I'm trying to miss the approach shots on the right side and not leave myself in a bunker."

Compatriot Florentyna Parker is five shots off the lead after a 70 and Solheim Cup captain Matthew seven adrift after posting the same score, but Charley Hull crashed out after a 78 which included five bogeys in the last eight holes in an inward half of 42.

Dame Laura Davies, 54, also missed the cut after rounds of 73 and 77.

Day one report

England's Georgia Hall carded a flawless opening 67 to lie two shots off the pace after the first round of the Ricoh Women's British Open.

Hall fired five birdies and no bogeys at Royal Lytham to share third place behind in-form Australian Minjee Lee, who carded an eagle, six birdies and a solitary bogey in her 65.

"I'm really happy to have no bogeys on any golf course but on this course I'm extremely happy," Hall told Sky Sports.

"I holed some really good par putts towards the last few holes and to get five birdies I couldn't ask for more really on the first round."

Hall finished third in this event at Kinsgbarns last year and believes she is better equipped to challenge for a first major title this time around.

"A lot has happened since a year ago," the 22-year-old added.

"I played Solheim Cup a couple of weeks after the British Open last year and I think I'm more of an experienced player, a bit more mature and I think I handle myself quite well.

"I think as long as I handle myself well on the golf course I'm happy and hopefully I can do that tomorrow as well."

Lee, who enjoyed a one-shot lead over Japan's Mamiko Higa, finished second in last week's Scottish Open at Gullane and said: "I know I can play around a links course and handle those conditions so I'm in a good place.

"I did hole quite a lot of putts from just inside 30 feet today, I don't think I holed any that were really short. I've been hitting it pretty solid and really happy with where I am right now."

England's Florentyna Parker carded an adventurous 69 which included a hole-in-one on the ninth, six birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey, while compatriot Charley Hull recovered from dropping three shots in her first five holes to card an opening 71.

Former US Women's Open champion Michelle Wie was forced to withdraw after 12 holes of her opening round with an ongoing hand injury.

In a statement released on social media, the 28-year-old American said: "I have been doing everything humanly possible (besides giving it proper rest) this past couple of weeks to get my hand healthy enough to play this event.

"Unfortunately, it wasn't enough. I gave it my all today but I just couldn't handle the pain any longer. I'm devastated that I had to withdraw mid-round, but I felt that if I kept pushing through the pain, I would have injured my hand further."

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