- Women's British Open
Martin eagle sets up maiden major
Women's golf has a new major champion - and Royal Birkdale has another memorable shot at its famous 18th hole to add to the archives.
Mo Martin, who had not carded an eagle all year, hit the three-wood of her life into the par-5 final hole on the Southport links. It crashed the pin and left her with the simplest of putts for a three.
It put the American in the clubhouse at one-under par through 72 holes - and around an hour later it proved to be enough to win the Women's British Open as Suzann Pettersen, Shanshan Feng and Inbee Park all failed to get under par.
Martin closed with an even-par 72 on a windy afternoon where no one managed to break par in the final round. The 31-year-old's eagle meant she was the only player to finish the tournament in red number.
Park and Feng each had a chance to force a play-off, but neither could birdie the 17th and 18th holes, both par-5s.
Dame Laura top of the Brits
- Two birdies in her final four holes was enough for Dame Laura Davies to finish top of the five Britons who made the cut at the Women's British Open.
- Davies' 73 was enough for her to finish five off winner Mo Martin in a share of ninth place at four-over par.
- Teenager Charley Hull followed up Saturday's round-of-the-week 66 with a 78 to finish in a tie for 12th. Hull, 18, had missed the cut on both her previous Women's British Open appearances.
- And Englishwoman, Georgia Hall, was one of two amateurs to make the cut at Royal Birkdale, but at nine-over was three behind her rival for the silver medal, American Emma Talley.
- Scotland's Vikki Laing and Wales' Becky Brewerton both failed to break 80 on the final day as they finished at 16- and 25-over respectively.
"I think I still need to be pinched," Martin said.
Martin, among the shortest hitters in the game, took six years just to reach the LPGA Tour, and her first victory in her 64th tournament came in a major championship.
Feng made eight straight pars - that constituted a charge on this demanding day - and had the outright lead until she made bogey on 16. A play-off looked likely because the two closing holes at Royal Birkdale are par-5s.
Feng missed birdie chances of about 15 feet and 10 feet as she closed with a 75 to finish tied for second with Pettersen, who ended birdie-birdie. But her hopes had effectively ended with a double bogey - her second of the round - on the 13th hole.
Park, who started the day with a one-shot lead in her quest to become only the seventh woman to capture four of the LPGA's five majors, fell out of the lead by going long on the par-3 14th hole and never caught up. She missed a 12-foot birdie putt on the 17th, and then put her tee shot into the right rough on the easy 18th hole. Her third shot found a bunker, and Park made bogey for a 77.
That left Martin alone on the range getting ready for a play-off that never happened - all because of one shot.
"An absolutely perfect three-wood," she said. "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, 'Okay, I don't have anything more to say to that ball.' I actually heard it hit the pin. It's definitely one to remember."
Americans now have won the first three majors of the LPGA Tour season for the first time since 1999, following Lexi Thompson at the Kraft Nabisco Championship and Michelle Wie at the US Women's Open.
A more likely candidate would have been Stacy Lewis, the defending champion, who also started only three shots behind. Lewis didn't make a birdie until the 18th hole and closed with a 78. Wie missed the cut, and Thompson finished 15 shots out of the lead.
Martin had a three-shot lead going into the weekend, building her strategy on keeping the ball in the fairway. But she had a 77 in the third round, and that figured to be the end of her chances. After two bogeys in five holes to start the final round, she was solid the rest of the way.
"Absolutely a dream come true," Martin said. "Safe to say it's the best week of my life."