Mo Martin hits wonder-shot at 18th to claim Birkdale crown

 

Royal Birkdale

Mo Martin hit the best shot of her life to become a major winner at the Women’s British Open yesterday.

From the middle of the fairway on the par-five 18th, the American hit a three-wood that she first thought was too short, and then worried might be too long. It turned out close to perfect. The ball hit the pin and settled six feet away to set up an eagle.

An hour later, that turned out to be the winning shot when South Korea’s Inbee Park and China’s Shanshan Feng failed to stay under par.

“I think I still need to be pinched,” said Martin, one of the shortest hitters in the women’s game. “An absolutely perfect three-wood,” she added. “When it was in the air, I said, ‘Sit’. And then I said, ‘Stop’. And then when it was going toward the hole, I said, ‘OK, I don’t have anything more to say to that ball.’ I actually heard it hit the pin. It’s definitely one to remember.”

It was a fairytale win in her 64th tournament for the 31-year-old who had taken six years just to reach the LPGA Tour. She closed with an even-par 72 on a day so tough that no one broke par. She was also the only player under par for the championship, finishing at one under on 287 for a one-shot victory over Feng and Suzann Pettersen.

Feng made eight straight pars and had the outright lead until she made bogey on the 16th hole. A play-off looked likely because the two closing holes at Royal Birkdale are par fives. Feng, however, missed birdie chances of about 15 feet and 10 feet in shooting 75.

Overnight leader Inbee Park finished fourth after a closing 77, falling off the top of the leaderboard by going long on the par-three 14th and never catching up. English teenager Charley Hull was joint 12th after a disappointing 78. A closing 73 meant Dame Laura Davies, 50, was the best-placed home player in a share of ninth.

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