Rookie becomes rare Englishwoman to win British Open

Lydia Ko plays from a deep pot bunker during day two of women's British Open

The Englishwoman reeled in long-time leader Pornanong Phatlum in a gripping final-round duel at Royal Lytham to win the Women's British Open for her first major title on Sunday.

Pornanong Phatlum of Thailand plays a shot from a bunker on 12th green during day four of Ricoh Women's British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes on August 5, 2018 in Lytham St Annes, England.

"It's too good to be true really", said Hall.

"I first played this tournament in 2012 and, since then, it's become the one that I want to win", said the 2011 US Women's Open victor, who added a second major at the 2017 ANA Inspiration. I'm so happy she win, " the Thai said.

"If I did, I would have probably hit a bad shot, so I stayed very calm and patient".

Hideki Matsuyama and Isao Aoki's runner-up finishes at the U.S. Open past year and in 1980, respectively, are the closest a Japanese male golfer has gotten to a major title.

Hall had birdies at the third and sixth before her remarkable run without a dropped shot ended at the 13th.

After tapping in for a bogey - her first of the day - at No. 18 that secured a two-shot victory over Pornanong (70), Hall hugged her playing partner from Thailand before being lifted off her feet by her caddie, father Wayne. She joins a list of players who have gone on to dominate in the women's game: Michelle Wie (2005), Anna Nordqvist (2008), Danielle Kang (2011), Lydia Ko (2012), and Georgia Hall (2013).

"I was lucky to hold the golf club", she said of the nerves that suddenly made their presence felt at the last.

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In 2017, Hall returned to the Women's British Open to finish in tied-third, a high she matched in the World Ladies Championship.

"I don't know what it is, but it is more enjoyable and fun the bigger the competition is".

She birdied three of the last four holes to join Pornanong in the final group on Sunday.

"I can't believe how many of you fans came out to support me, I am so grateful".

The tears of joy as the 22-year-old picked up the trophy were inevitable, as the realisation sunk in that she is only the third Briton to win this tournament since it was recognised a as a major and only the fifth British female to win a major of any description.

Phatlum, who has four runner-up finishes on the LPGA Tour but has never won in almost a decade of toil, will head into Sunday's final round at 13-under 203.

The leaders are also chasing history.

Hall looked set to take the outright lead after a brilliant approach to the par-5 15th left her with 15ft for an eagle.

After not qualifying for the ANA Inspiration, Hall made the cut in the following two majors and then finished a brilliant tied-third in the Women's British Open at Kingsbarns before earning another top-10 finish in the Evian Championship. Hall played safe in three-putting from distance to finish on 17-under 271.

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