(SOUTHPORT, ENGLAND – 13th July 2014) — Mo Martin of the United States earned her first major championship at the Ricoh Women’s British Open with a stunning eagle on the final hole at Royal Birkdale for a total of 287, one-under-par.

Martin had signed her card for a closing 72 – the joint lowest round on a blustery final day on the links – and was ready for a likely play-off against ice-cool South Korean Inbee Park or Norwegian Suzann Pettersen.

Overnight leader Park needed a birdie on the last to tie, but uncharacteristically hit her tee shot into thick rough and took a bogey, while Pettersen finished with a birdie when she needed an eagle to tie.

Martin’s round had a fairytale finish when she hit her ball straight into the centre of the pin flag on 18 using a 3-wood. She then made a putt of six feet for eagle.

After an anxious hour’s wait on the driving range, the news was eventually delivered and she burst into laughter before embracing her caddie. She was then driven back to the 18th green and sprayed in champagne.

This was Martin’s first win on a major tour and when asked if the shot into 18 was the best of her life, the 31-year-old Californian said:

“Yeah, absolutely 100 per cent.

“It’s kind of a Cinderella story. Safe to say, it’s the best week of my life.”

Martin credited her coach Ian Triggs, who encouraged her to change from a long to a short putter last year. The most accurate driver on the LPGA for the last two years, this was a victory of accuracy over power. Earlier in the week, Martin had explained how her strategy was to aim for a spot on the widest parts of the fairways, where she would have the best approaches into the greens.

The victory also continued the rise of American women’s golf, as this was the first time since 1999 that American women had won the first three majors in a single season, following Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie’s victories at the Kraft Nabisco Championship and US Women’s Open respectively.

Martin opened the championship with successive rounds of 69 to lead the by three strokes at the halfway point, but slipped back with a third round of 77. She started the final round three strokes behind Park but held steady in the windy conditions with gusts of up to 30 miles per hour.

With bogeys on holes one, five and 13 against a birdie on six, she remained in contention throughout the final round, but sealed the £277,887 first prize with the eagle.

“Just my drive.  I picked the left side, so I had to hit it up the left side and let it feed up a little bit right.  That was the strategy my caddie, Kyle, and I had all week.  My second shot there is one I’m always going to remember,” she said.

“It was a tough day of golf today.  I mean, it was very windy and this course is very challenging.  So stayed patient and I fortunately played some really good golf today.

“From first time I saw Royal Birkdale, I fell in love with it. I think the layout is absolutely phenomenal.”

China’s Shanshan Feng and Pettersen both finished with rounds of 75 for a total of level par 288, while Park ended in solo fourth spot on one-over with a 77.

Americans Jessica Korda and Angela Stanford shared fifth place with South Korean Eun-Hee Lee and Julieta Granada of Paraguay.

And England’s recently appointed dame, Laura Davies, showed that ‘life begins at 50’ with a stunning final round of 73, which lifted her into a share of ninth position on four-over-par with American Marina Alex and South Korean Sun-Ju Ahn.

Some 28 years since winning the 1986 British Open at Royal Birkdale, Davies finished as the leading home player. Meanwhile Charley Hull, whose third round of 66 was the lowest of the tournament, ended a stroke further behind on five-over-par in a tie for 12th place with Gwladys Nocera, Anna Nordqvist, the 2013 champion Stacy Lewis and Azahara Munoz.

American Emma Talley finished a stroke back on six-over-par in a share of 17th place and won the Smyth Salver and the leading amateur, three strokes ahead of England’s Georgia Hall.

 

Collated Final Scores:

287 – Mo Martin (USA)  69 69 77 72

288 – Shanshan Feng (CHN)  73 71 69 75, Suzann Pettersen (NOR)  72 73 68 75

289 – Inbee Park (KOR)  72 72 68 77

291 – Julieta Granada (PAR)  72 70 72 77, Eun-Hee Ji (KOR)  74 70 71 76, Jessica Korda (USA)  72 72 73 74, Angela Stanford (USA)  74 72 70 75

292 – Marina Alex (USA)  72 76 68 76, Laura Davies (ENG)  75 72 72 73, Sun-Ju Ahn (KOR)  75 67 71 79

293 – Anna Nordqvist (SWE)  72 78 71 72, Gwladys Nocera (FRA)  73 70 73 77, Stacy Lewis (USA)  71 74 70 78, Charley Hull (ENG)  73 76 66 78, Azahara Munoz (ESP)  72 72 74 75

294 – Emma Talley (USA)  72 73 76 73, Beatriz Recari (ESP)  74 67 74 79, So Yeon Ryu (KOR)  71 70 74 79, Amelia Lewis (USA)  72 71 71 80

295 – Meena Lee (KOR)  73 75 70 77, Paula Creamer (USA)  75 73 71 76, Giulia Sergas (ITA)  76 73 72 74, Erina Hara (JPN)  73 74 73 75, Morgan Pressel (USA)  70 74 75 76, Amy Yang (KOR)  71 72 72 80

296 – Pornanong Phatlum (THA)  73 74 75 74, Rikako Morita (JPN)  75 75 68 78

297 – Mina Harigae (USA)  70 78 74 75, Jenny Shin (KOR)  73 72 73 79, Ayaka Watanabe (JPN)  76 72 75 74, Georgia Hall (ENG)  73 72 78 74, Jiyai Shin (KOR)  72 75 71 79, Lee-Anne Pace (RSA)  75 73 72 77, Lydia Ko (NZL)  72 76 69 80, Belen Mozo (ESP)  77 72 74 74, Carlota Ciganda (ESP)  74 75 73 75

298 – Chella Choi (KOR)  73 73 72 80, Sophie Giquel-bettan (FRA)  76 69 73 80, Brittany Lincicome (USA)  76 72 72 78, Nikki Campbell (AUS)  77 72 73 76, Mika Miyazato (JPN)  78 72 70 78

299 – Brittany Lang (USA)  73 75 74 77, Alison Walshe (USA)  74 76 74 75

300 – Jeong Jang (KOR)  73 74 74 79, Haru Nomura (JPN)  75 73 76 76, Ai Miyazato (JPN)  72 73 72 83, Ariya Jutanugarn (THA)  75 68 75 82, Valentine Derrey (FRA)  79 70 77 74, Karine Icher (FRA)  76 72 71 81

301 – Thidapa Suwannapura (THA)  76 74 73 78, Dori Carter (USA)  73 76 75 77, Alena Sharp (CAN)  74 76 76 75

302 – Ayako Uehara (JPN)  68 79 72 83, Christina Kim (USA)  79 71 75 77, Lexi Thompson (USA)  72 77 78 75, Diana Luna (ITA)  76 72 75 79

303 – Miki Saiki (JPN)  76 71 73 83, Sarah Kemp (AUS)  70 79 74 80, Ji Young Oh (KOR)  76 73 78 76, Jee Young Lee (KOR)  76 72 76 79

304 – Vikki Laing (SCO)  78 68 78 80, Xi Yu Lin (CHN)  74 74 75 81, Hannah Jun (USA)  75 71 81 77, Austin Ernst (USA)  76 73 77 78

305 – Il Hee Lee (KOR)  76 74 76 79

306 – Hee Young Park (KOR)  76 72 79 79

308 – Kristy Mcpherson (USA)  74 76 73 85

310 – Beth Allen (USA)  77 73 75 85

313 – Becky Brewerton (WAL)  77 73 78 85