Hall Wins Ricoh Women's British Open
LYTHAM AND ST ANNES, England – With the fans in her corner and father on her bag, England’s own Georgia Hall made history on Sunday.
“Hopefully I can give them something to cheer about tomorrow,” Hall said Saturday.
She certainly did.
Hall carded a final round 5-under par, 67 to win the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes for her first victory on the LPGA Tour. With her win, she becomes the fourth Englishwoman to win the Championship and first since Karen Stupples in 2004.
“I had so much support today from all the people backing me and supporting me and cheering my name, and the support, I'm just so grateful,” Hall said after her round.
The 2018 LPGA Tour rookie finished the week at 17-under par, two-strokes ahead of 36 and 54-hole leader Pornanong Phatlum of Thailand. So Yeon Ryu finished solo third at 13-under par with a final round 2-under par, 70.
Hall’s victory, with her father Wayne on the bag, comes one year after she finished T3 at the 2017 Ricoh Women’s British Open at Kingsbarns. After the success she found with her father last year, Hall brought him along for this week’s journey around Lytham. She made two bogeys the entire week and didn’t drop a single shot on Sunday as she kept pace with Phatlum, who recorded a 2-under par, 70. The runner-up finish is a career best for the Thai.
“She played so amazing today, everything is perfect,” Phatlum said after her round. Yeah, she is from here and everyone rooting for her. I'm so happy she win.”
Welcome to the Big Thai-me
Pornanong Phatlum is the latest player from Thailand to put her name at the top of the leaderboard on the LPGA Tour. While the 2009 rookie came up short of her first victory on Sunday, she put on a clinic throughout the week at Lytham. She missed only four fairways and four greens heading into the final round and recorded only two bogeys the entire week. But, it was the one double-bogey she recorded at the par 4, 17th hole on Sunday that would ultimately cost her the championship.
“I tried my best and didn't play good on the back nine, but still feeling good with the score today,” Phatlum said Sunday.
But Phatlum didn’t need to have a win to have an impact on Tour. Sunday, fellow Thai players Ariya Jutanugarn and Thidapa Suwannapura made a charge up the leaderboard and the trio spent most of the day inside the top 10. Jutanugarn carded a final round 69 to follow her victory last week in Scotland with a T4 finish at Lytham. Suwannapura, who won on Tour for the first time in June, struggled on her inward stretch with a double-bogey and bogey to close out her round, but recorded her best finish in a major at T11 for the week.
Amateur Atthaya Thitikul was one of those juniors inspired by her fellow Thai players' success on the LPGA Tour.
“I talk to all of them, now Thai girls play really good now,” Thitikul said on Sunday. “Like now Moriya can win LPGA tournament and I hope so this tournament, maybe Pornanong win. Both of them inspiring junior Thai and inspiring me also to improve our Thai junior to improve it to the world-class.”
The 15-year-old amateur from Thailand will take home low amateur honors for the second time at a major championship in 2018. The low amateur at the ANA Inspiration was awarded the Smyth Salver on Sunday at Royal Lytham & St Annes. Thitikul opened with rounds of 73-71 and was the only amateur to play the weekend.
Major Challengers Stumble on Sunday
It was no surprise to see two-time major champions Sung Hyun Park and So Yeon Ryu near the top of the leaderboard heading into the final round of the season’s fourth major. What came as a surprise was that the two backed up early on Sunday. Park began the day three-strokes back of the lead and Ryu was two behind. Both found trouble early and Ryu was four-over through her first four holes after a double-bogey, bogey combination. But Ryu rebounded, just as she did during Saturday’s round when she started with two bogeys. On Sunday, she followed with three consecutive birdies to get back to where she began the day. She added four more birdies over a five hole stretch to finish with a 2-under par, 70. But it wasn’t enough to catch the leaders and Ryu settled for solo third at 13-under par.
Park’s hopes were dashed after she took three shots to get out of a green side bunker at the par 4, 4th hole and made double bogey. She followed with another double bogey at the par 3, 5th hole and her day unraveled from there. Park carded a 5-over par, 77 and dropped back to T15 for the week.
Both players had a mathematical chance of moving to No. 1 in the Rolex Rankings with a win on Sunday.