Georgia Hall plays with a quiet intensity, which on the final day of the Ricoh Women’s British Open made her look like she was exactly where she belonged: In the hunt and then on top of the leaderboard at a Major championship.
Her play over four days at Royal Lytham & St Annes, where she shot rounds of 67-68-69-67 to win by two strokes, made it easy to forget that she started the week as a 22-year-old LPGA rookie still looking for her first tour win.
Though she got it on Sunday, it wasn’t the first time that Hall has impressed on a Major stage. The Englishwoman played in the final group and finished T-3 at the 2017 Women’s British Open. She followed that performance with an impressive debut in the Solheim Cup, the only player on either team to play all five matches. Annika Sorenstam, the captain of the European squad, put her trust in Hall, making it easy for fans to believe in her, too.
The potential that she’s showed flashes of came to fruition late in the back nine of the final round at Lytham. She started the round one shot back of Thailand’s Pornanong Phatlum. Two Major champions, So Yeon Ryu and Sung Hyun Park, were one and two shots behind Hall, respectively. But after an early triple bogey from Ryu and back-to-back front-nine doubles for Park, it was soon down to Hall and Phatlum.
Through 13 holes, Hall and Phatlum were tied at 16 under. The two remained in a deadlock for the next two holes, but then the momentum shifted. On the 16th, Hall made her third birdie in four holes to get to 17 under. Then on the 17th, Hall made par but saw her lead stretch to three when Phatlum made a costly double-bogey 6. A bogey on 18 for Hall gave her a closing 67 and the two-stroke win.
Australia’s Minjee Lee never threatened as she struggled to a three-over 75 to finish 10 strokes off the pace in outright 10th. New Zealand’s Lydia Ko (73) was a stroke further back in T-11.
You could point to Hall’s consistency off the tee, or her clutch approach shots, or steady putting for that, but it was also a victory for her mental fortitude. At the Solheim Cup she proved she could be tough and have endurance for her team, but at the Ricoh Women’s British Open she proved she could do it for herself, too.
“It was my goal when I was 9 to win the British Open,” said Hall after becoming the first Englishwoman to win the title since Karen Stupples won in 2004. “I am so happy. I just had to stay calm and patient. It was very close up to the last two holes and I holed all the putts today. I was loving it deep down, hitting the shots under pressure. To get six birdies in the final round of a Major is not bad.”
Hall’s victory is on-trend with the winners of the LPGA Tour this year. There have been 22 tour events this season, and Hall is the 19th different winner. This is the third season in a row where a rookie has won a Major.
“It is too good to be true,” Hall said.